Rapid Response:
Rapid response assemblies are provided on the site when there is an event in the news, good or bad, that touches children's lives, so we can offer you a way to acknowledge it in your collective worship.


By Ronni Lamont


NB As with all rapid-response assemblies, please be aware that the situation may have moved on from the time this was prepared

You will need to be sensitive in using this assembly, as many children will have family or friends from Hispaniola and Haiti


Suitable for Key Stage 2


To remember those hit by the recent earthquake in Haiti.

Preparation and materials
  1. Ask the children what they know about the earthquake in Haiti.
  2. On 12 January, we heard that there had been a severe earthquake in Haiti, a country on an island in the Caribbean. In 1492 Christopher Columbus named the island ‘Hispaniola’. Haiti, situated on the western third, sounds idyllic. When the country threw out the oppressive French rulers in the nineteenth century, it became the first black-led republic. But over the last 100 years it has had a history of harsh leaders, who have maintained their rule by brutal laws and by terrifying the people. In 1994, the United States sent in their army, and that has now been replaced by a United Nations peace-keeping force, which works to maintain the country’s elected leaders. Most of the people are very poor, and many have moved to richer countries for work.
  3. Over the last few years, Haiti has been hit by many hurricanes and floods. Already a poor country, it has become even poorer as it has struggled to rebuild itself every time these natural disasters have struck.
  4. On 11 January, the earthquake struck, and it has destroyed most of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The headquarters of the United Nations in Haiti was one of the buildings that collapsed, and hundreds of people are missing, feared trapped beneath rubble. The United States, the UK and many other countries are sending skilled searchers and firefighters to work inside the devastated buildings, trying to find people before it is too late.
  5. The local people are now living outside, too afraid to go back inside in case there are more aftershocks and the structures collapse.
  6. Earthquakes happen when the underlying geographic ‘plates’ that support the land move. (Demonstrate with your hands, one sliding over the other.) We rarely have earthquakes in this country, and if we do they are very mild.
  7. Show a picture from Haiti. (Be sensitive.) Ask the children how they think the people who experienced this earthquake are feeling now.
  8. Remind the children that there are many people living in the UK whose families are from this area. How can we support them at this time?

Time for reflection

Light a candle, and project the words of the response so that the children can join in.

Leader: We think of the people of Haiti, shocked and scared by the earthquake.

Children: We remember them.

Leader: We think of those who are organizing the rescue effort – firefighters and rescue specialists.

Children: We remember them.

Leader: We remember all those who have been hurt and the people working to help them.

Children: We remember them.

Leader: We remember all those travelling to Haiti to help.

Children: We remember them.

Leader: We remember those living outside of Haiti who have relatives and friends on the island, and who may be worried about them.

Children: We remember them.

Leader: We give thanks for the United Nations, and hope that they will be able to rebuild their work quickly.

Children: We remember them.

Leader: And we remember all those who have died.

Children: We remember them. Amen.


Song suggestion

'When I needed a neighbour' (Come and Praise, 65)



Play some music from the Caribbean, such as ‘Buena Vista Social Club’, which is widely available to download.





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