A man with an amputated leg sits in a blue wheelchair on a balcony

Earthquake survivor receives rehabilitation, psychosocial support

Jean Mario Joseph was seriously injured in the earthquake that struck Haiti in August 2021, requiring his right leg to be amputated. Today, he receives physical rehabilitation and psychosocial support from Humanity & Inclusion.

Nearly 800,000 people were affected by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that shook southern Haiti in August 2021. Like many Haitians, 66-year-old Jean Mario was badly affected by the disaster. The earthquake left him with physical injuries and psychological trauma.

The father of four children was at his home near Les Cayes when the earthquake struck. The walls shook and the floor gave way under his feet. His home was destroyed and Jean Mario sustained serious injuries to his right leg. He underwent surgery but, because of his diabetes, the doctors had no choice but to amputate his leg.

"After the operation, my life became very difficult because I was completely dependent on my family,” recalls Jean Mario. “I couldn't go to medical appointments without my son's help. I was very depressed when I was referred to HI’s rehabilitation services. For me, my life had lost all meaning.”

Rehabilitation and psychosocial support

Jean Mario is now in the care of Humanity & Inclusion's rehabilitation teams. They have taken measurements to make him an artificial leg, which will be ready soon. In the meantime, Humanity & Inclusion has given Jean Mario a wheelchair to help him get around more easily. He is also receiving mental health and psychosocial support.

"The first time I went to the psychosocial support service, I got a very warm welcome,” Jean Mario explains. “It gave me hope. The HI psychologists are helping me to cultivate joy and happiness. I really enjoy the recreational activities, the discussion groups. HI has really become like a second family for me.”

Back to his daily routine

With Humanity & Inclusion's support, which is possible thanks to the generosity of the American people, Jean Mario has been able to regain his autonomy and resume his daily activities.

"I’m independent again,” he says. “Thanks to my wheelchair, I can move around without anyone's help. I can get around on my own with a motorbike taxi. I have resumed my religious activities and I’ve recovered my mental health.”

His perception of disability has also changed.

"I know how easy it is for a person to become disabled,” Jean Mario adds. “Having become a disabled person myself, I now understand the realities of it. We are just like everyone else and no one has the right to humiliate us."

Earthquake response

Within days of the earthquake, Humanity & Inclusion was providing physical rehabilitation services in support of two facilities, a rehabilitation center in Les Cayes and a hospital in Camp Perrin. These services were then extended to Aquin and mobile units were deployed to bring assistance to the most isolated populations.

Between October 2021 and August 2022, Humanity & Inclusion supported nearly 15,000 people. The organization provided rehabilitation sessions to more than 6,000 people, as well as mental health and psychosocial support services to more than 8,000 people.

The earthquake caused landslides and rockfalls, blocking roads. Humanity & Inclusion hired local residents to help carry out debris clearance operations until December 2021, removing 9,000 cubic meters of dirt, the equivalent of nearly four Olympic-sized swimming pools. Humanity & Inclusion also launched a boat transport system to deliver humanitarian aid to the affected areas. Between August 2021 and May 2022, teams delivered more than 1,150 tons of humanitarian supplies to hard-to-reach areas.

Humanity & Inclusion's actions in Haiti are funded in part by USAID.