Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Oct 03rd
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Home Feature Stories Help Haiti with Love Timeline of Relief Efforts in Haiti

Timeline of Relief Efforts in Haiti

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Timeline of Relief Efforts in Haiti
1/30 ~ 2/5
1/12 ~ 1/24
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Tzu Chi’s Immediate Response to the Haiti Earthquake
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake strikes Haiti on January 12, 2010.  Tzu Chi immediately established an emergency coordination center in Tzu Chi USA headquarters (San Dimas, CA).  On January 13, Tzu Chi has focused the immediate relief in Haiti on:  (1) Relief aid distribution, (2) Medical assistance, and (3) Global fundraising.


Date Event
February 12
  • On February 6, Tzu Chi medical & dental team started to provide services in Tabarre. Not only did the Tzu Chi medical & dental team provided services to the survivors, the team also provided services to the peacekeepers who were helping to provide relief work and security protection.

  • On February 8, Tzu Chi started its relief work program around Impact for God Church, providing the participants / survivors meals and cash in exchange for clean-up work in their local communities. Each day, participants work in the morning, earning approximately US$5 per day (paid on a weekly basis) and receiving hot meals for their family members and themselves. The program gives the survivors not only urgently-needed food and cash, but also a sense of hope and respect.

  • On February 10, a relief goods distribution was held at the St. Mary Church. 2,290 people received goods, such as rice, beans, buckets and reusable utensils, from Tzu Chi. A total of 62 volunteers (including Tzu Chi volunteers, medical doctors, local church volunteers) were mobilized to assist with the distribution. There were peacekeepers at the distribution site to provide security protection. They said that Tzu Chi’s relief goods distribution was the most touching and heart-warming distribution they have ever seen.

  • On February 11, a large-scale distribution was held at the Impact for God Church, benefiting approximately 8,500 people in the city of Tabarre. Good distributed per person including 10kg of rice in a bucket, 5kg of red bean in a bucket, 2 sets of reusable utensils and bowls. A total of 85 volunteers were mobilized, including 16 Tzu Chi volunteers from the relief team, 5 Tzu Chi medical team personnel, 4 Tzu Chi volunteers from Haiti, and 60 participants from the relief work program.

  • On February 10, the CEO of Tzu Chi USA, along with the Executive Vice President of Tzu Chi USA and four other Tzu Chi volunteers visited the Prime Minister of Haiti, discussing the possibility of long-term reconstruction work. The Prime Minister remembered Tzu Chi from the relief work in January 2008. The CEO of Tzu Chi USA, William Keh, told the Prime Minister about Tzu Chi’s reconstruction work after the Southeast Asia tsunami in Sri Lanka, the earthquakes in Indonesia, the earthquakes in El Salvador, the mudslides in Kaohsiung County after Typhoon Morakot, etc, and that Tzu Chi has built permanent villages in different parts of the world after disasters.  Tzu Chi respects each area’s religions, ethnic traditions and cultures when building the permanent villages. The Prime Minister hopes that Tzu Chi can assist with the reconstruction work in Haiti and set an example for other NGOs to follow.

  • Tzu Chi attended meetings with other NGOs and US peacekeepers. US peacekeepers said Tzu Chi can obtain US peacekeeper’s support, if there is a need.

  • On February 12, a month after the earthquake in Haiti, Tzu Chi held a joint prayer service at the Impact for God Church, for the survivors in the area.

  • On February 12 at 4:53pm EST, Tzu Chi USA, launched a nationwide campaign to observe a minute of silence and send blessings and prayers to the survivors in Haiti.  At 4:53pm EST (the time that the earthquake happened on January 12), all the Tzu Chi volunteers in the US and in Haiti sent their prayers and blessings to the people in Haiti, creating a collective force that brings hope and love to the people in Haiti.

  • Shifts of Tzu Chi volunteers and doctors and medical personnel from the Americas will be stationed in Haiti on a weekly basis (similar to what Tzu Chi did after the Sichuan earthquake). Tzu Chi USA is in the process of integrating nationwide volunteers and medical manpower and resources to be on standby for dispatch to Haiti in the long-run.

  • As part of Tzu Chi’s immediate relief efforts, several small-scale distributions will continue to be held, while large-scale distributions will be held in end of February, mid- March and end of March.

  • Gatherings/trainings will be held continuously with local Tzu Chi volunteers and relief work program participants / survivors to spread the message of love and to continue the cycle of love in Haiti in the long-run.

  • In the next few weeks, Tzu Chi will gradually enter into mid-long term relief phase in Haiti. Tzu Chi will continue to assess the situation and develop a detailed long-term reconstruction plan.   

  • Master Cheng Yen, the founder of Tzu Chi, continues to urge all volunteers to use selfless Great Love to help Haiti!



" A fulfilling life is not preoccupied with material objects, prestige, or power. It is a life that is filled with true friendships, sharing, and caring for each other. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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