There just aren’t that many people as qualified to lead an emergency response team as Richard Jacquot. And today, Mercy Corps is counting on him to lead our disaster relief and recovery efforts in earthquake-struck Haiti.
Jacquot has led Mercy Corps’ emergency response in several countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Lebanon, Myanmar and even the United States — along the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In many of these cases, he’s led both the initial relief efforts — distribution of supplies, including shelter materials and clean water — and then directed the beginning of what he describes as “Stage 2” activities.
“As soon as we’ve made sure that survivors’ immediate need are met – things like water, food, shelter and primary healthcare – we need to help them get back home, rebuild and resume their lives,” Jacquot said. “In the aftermath of disasters, that means helping local organizations and businesses to re-open and get going again.”
In Haiti — as in the other disasters and crises to which we’ve responded over the years — Mercy Corps plans to stay and work with families as they rebuild. That means coming up with a strategy for economic development and community revitalization. That long-term planning begins as soon as our emergency team hits the ground and begins talking with survivors.
And again, Jacquot is just the man for the job. As Mercy Corps’ Deputy Emergency Director and Emergency Capacity Building (ECB) Project Manager, he works with a group of international organizations to improve the way the humanitarian community helps families in the aftermath of disasters. Over the last few months, he’s traveled to countries including China, Nepal and Niger to train staff in more effective emergency response methods. All seven member organizations of the ECB group will be on the ground in earthquake-devastated parts of Haiti, and Jacquot will be working with them to coordinate the emergency response.
Richard Jacquot has been tested by more than ten different Mercy Corps emergency responses, from catastrophic disasters to war, over the last few years. But post-earthquake Haiti presents its own challenges — challenges that he and his team are ready to tackle.