Haiti Hit by Massive Earthquake

Haiti SOS Children's Villages
There are two SOS Children's Villages in Haiti

**UPDATE from 3:00pm EST, January 14, 2009: A brief conversation via satellite phone with the national director of SOS Children's Villages Haiti has confirmed that the staff and SOS families in the SOS Children's Village Santo are uninjured and its infrastructure has no major damages, including the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School.

There is still no word from other SOS Children's Villages programs, Some neighborhoods where SOS Children's Villages is active have been completely destroyed.  One of the SOS Youth Facilities in Santo (a rented apartment in the city) was destroyed and two youths were injured. They have received medical assistance and are now out of danger.

For more information, please see our Haiti Earthquake Relief page.

*UPDATE from 11:00 am EST, January 13, 2009: SOS Children's Villages has made brief contact with Haiti's national SOS Director, Celigny Darius. He informs us that all co-workers at the national office in Port-au-Prince are uninjured. Unfortunately, since all communication lines are down and all roads are blocked, there has been no communication with any of the SOS Children's Villages or other programs. The national office has been partially destroyed and our co-workers have not been able to move from the office. There are severe damages to some of the co-workers' own houses and some of them have not been able to contact their families.

January 13, 2010: A 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Tuesday evening, destroying many buildings and killing hundreds, possibly thousands of people. The epicenter of the quake was just 6 miles from the capital Port-au-Prince. So far, SOS Children's Villages has not been able to reach local Haiti co-workers for a situation report.

The massive earthquake cut off power supplies, and thousands gathered in the blacked-out roads as powerful aftershocks continued well into the night. Many are now trying to dig the victims out of the rubble with whatever tools they can find. Communication lines are also down.

The main UN building in Port-au-Prince has also collapsed, and although pledges for immediate assistance have been made by the United States, the World Bank and many others, it is not known at present how a recovery will be organized.

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world and has suffered both destructive natural disasters and political turmoil. SOS Children's Villages has been established in Haiti for many years and will do everything in its power to help those who need urgent assistance, with a special focus on the children. Due to the total loss of communication lines, the extent to which SOS Children's Villages in Haiti have been affected is not known at this point, but there is no doubt that immediate aid as well as long-term support will require a large amount of funds.

The National SOS Children's Village Association was founded in 1979; the first SOS Children's Village was completed in 1982. At present there are two SOS Children's Villages in Haiti, at Santo and Cap Haitien, two SOS Youth Facilities, two SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools, two SOS Vocational Training Centers and four SOS Social Centers. Some 570 children and young people are currently being cared for in SOS facilities, more than 2,600 people receive support through our family strengthening programs. More than 1,800 children and young people are receiving an education at two SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools and two SOS Vocational Training Centers.