International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Haiti One Year On: Keeping women safe and healthy

Just before 5pm on January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7 earthquake struck Haiti about 10 miles southwest of the capital, Port-au-Prince.  It killed approximately 230,000 people and left another 1.3 million homeless. The International Rescue Committee quickly established emergency operations and moved to address the urgent need for clean water, sanitation and health care, as well the special needs of women and girls. In the last year, our mission has grown to include health care, child welfare, economic recovery and development, and programs to combat violence against women.

The IRC provides direct support to nearly 100,000 people in 30 camps.  Over the next week, we will provide a daily update on one aspect of our work in Haiti. Today -- a snapshot of of our efforts to keep women safe and healthy:

•    Women and girls are at the center of the IRC’s relief effort. The IRC was the first agency to deploy a specialist dedicated to reducing sexual violence and runs a full-time program to help ensure the safety of women and girls.

•    The IRC has increased access to medical treatment and psychosocial services and provides safe spaces for women and girls who have experienced sexual or physical violence.

•    The IRC distributed solar lights in dangerous areas to enhance safety and security and constructed private bathing stations to ensure privacy.

To learn more about the IRC's work in Haiti and how to help, visit

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