Timeline: MSF in Haiti

Inflatable tent

Haiti 2010 © Nicola Vigilanti

Alert is a quarterly magazine published by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF-USA) that features stories and photography from our medical projects around the world. Below is an article from the Fall 2021 issue (Vol 21. No. 3), Surviving the Haiti Earthquake. If you would like to download a print version of this publication, click here.

Three decades of medical humanitarian work in Haiti prepared Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to respond quickly and effectively to the August earthquake.




Two MSF nurses arrive in Haiti at the invitation of a local organization. They provide supplies and training to nurse anesthetists at hospitals in Fort Liberté and Cap-Haïtien and establish an ongoing MSF presence in the country.


MSF shifts its focus to impoverished neighborhoods of the capital, Port- au-Prince, supporting local clinics, building latrines, and improving water supplies.


In October, MSF responds to Hurricane Jeanne, providing medical care in affected areas. In December, we open a trauma center in St. Joseph hospital in response to increased medical needs due to violence and political tensions.

Haiti 2004 © Dieter Telemans


MSF opens its emergency center in the Martissant neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.

Bed trauma center at St. Joseph's Hospital
Haiti 2006 © Guillaume Le Duc


A magnitude 7.0 earthquake strikes Haiti, including its densely populated capital region. MSF’s Trinité Hospital is destroyed. In response, we launch the largest emergency response in our history, treating patients across the devastated areas. In Port-au-Prince, MSF installs an innovative inflatable hospital to provide surgical care in place of Trinité hospital.


When a cholera epidemic strikes Haiti, MSF treats more than 300,000 people for the waterborne disease in multiple locations.


In Port- au-Prince, MSF opens its emergency obstetrical hospital in the Delmas 33 neighborhood and its Drouillard hospital in the Cité Soleil neighborhood, which becomes Haiti’s main referral hospital for burn care.

Nap Kenbe centre in Tabarre, Port-au-Prince
Haiti 2013 © Yann Libessart/MSF


MSF opens its Tabarre hospital in Port-au-Prince to provide specialized surgical care for trauma patients.

Cholera (CTC) Delmas Haiti November 2014
Haiti 2014 © Corentin Fohlen


MSF opens a clinic in Delmas 33 for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

Haiti 2014 © Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi


MSF responds to Hurricane Matthew, which struck southern Haiti, supporting the Port-à-Piment hospital, running mobile clinics, administering vaccines, providing clean water, and donating building materials. An MSF team subsequently remains in Port-à-Piment, providing sexual and reproductive health care.

HAITI Hurricane Matthew Response, Port-à-Piment mobile clinics
Haiti 2016 © Jeanty Junior Augustin


MSF closes its obstetrical hospital in Port-au-Prince after providing care to nearly 120,000 women and girls.

Health at risk in Haiti as crisis and violence worsen
Haiti 2019 © Jeanty Junior Augustin/MSF


MSF closes its Tabarre hospital, but later reopens it as the need for trauma care increases due to heightened tensions and violence.

Haiti earthquake - Les Cayes
Haiti 2021 © Steven Aristil


As the coronavirus pandemic hits Haiti, MSF converts its Drouillard burns hospital into a COVID-19 treatment center before returning it to its original purpose after the first wave passes.


Amid increasing insecurity in Port-au-Prince, MSF relocates its burn care program from Drouillard into its Tabarre hospital and temporarily moves its emergency center from Martissant to the Turgeau neighborhood. On August 14, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes the south of the country. MSF stabilizes survivors and provides surgery in Port-au-Prince, Jérémie, and Les Cayes, runs mobile clinics in affected areas, and distributes supplies to displaced people and medical facilities.

Fall 2021: Responding to the Haiti earthquake

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