The island of Haiti has a history of destructive earthquakes. On January 12th 2010, Haiti was struck by the country’s most severe earthquake in over 200 years. The epicentre of the quake was just outside the capital Port-au-Prince.

Over 200,000 people lost their lives and widespread damage resulted from the quake: the capital city was destroyed. The Presidential Palace was badly damaged with the second floor collapsing onto the first floor. The Haitian Parliament building, the UN mission headquarters and the National Cathedral were also destroyed. International aid flowed in but was extremely hampered by the damaged infrastructure.

Blue Shield Statement – Haiti Blue Shield National Committee
02 June 2010

The Blue Shield salutes the Haitian heritage community in their efforts to rescue and protect the rich and unique cultural heritage of Haiti. Many official and voluntary initiatives, by both national and international organisations, have taken place in the last few months and have proved extremely valuable. To mention just two examples, the Crisis unit “Patrimoine En Danger” was set up by members of the heritage community within the first few days after the earthquake, while the Restoration And Heritage Rescue Centre is being established by the International Blue Shield at this very moment.

The time has now come for a better coordination of those efforts to optimize their impact and to ensure that the initial momentum created by the Haitian heritage community gets translated into a long-term dedication to the protection and restoration of Haiti’s endangered cultural property. In this regard, the Blue Shield wishes to congratulate wholeheartedly the Haitian heritage  professionals who decided to set up a National Blue Shield Committee. The Blue Shield has received a declaration of intention to create the Haitian Blue Shield Committee.