Following the Haiti earthquake of January 2010, thousands of Haitians fled the devastation and sought asylum in Brazil. Stranded in the border town Tabatinga, and unable to work or leave until they received authorisation, many were living in extremely poor conditions. In November of 2010, Médecins Sans Frontières began offering psychological support and distributed washing kits.
By January of 2012, the Brazilian Ministry of Justice announced that some 4,000 Haitians would be granted residence and work visas. The federal government also opened up legal migration opportunities from Haiti. With the improvement in the situation, MSF’s program was closed in February 2012.
Many Haitians left Tabatinga for the city of Manaus, and an MSF team provided training in mental healthcare and health promotion to health staff and social workers in Manaus.