30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

In memoriam: Haiti Tragedy, ten years later

Lisa Mbele-Mbong
Published: Jan 13, 2020

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202-994-7000 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu

The National Security Archive remembers our former colleague, Lisa Mbele-Mbong, one decade after her death in the terrible earthquake that took more than 100,000 lives in Haiti.

Washington D.C., January 13, 2020 - Ten years ago, the National Security Archive was deeply saddened to learn that our friend and former colleague, Lisa Mbele-Mbong, was killed in the collapse of the United Nations Mission building during the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010. Lisa was a human rights officer and team leader in the Policy and Planning Unit of MINUSTAH, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, based in Port-au-Prince. When the earthquake struck, Lisa was one of many attending a meeting in the human rights section of the building who did not survive its destruction. 

Lisa came to the National Security Archive in February 1994 to work with analyst Kenneth Mokoena on a research project examining the Frontline States of Southern Africa in addition to other topics--including Haiti.  She went on to join the United Nations in Geneva, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Haiti, where she lived together with her 10-year-old son, Nady.

For those of us who knew Lisa Mbele-Mbong well, her loss was a terrible blow. Lisa was a passionate, brave and thoughtful woman dedicated to human rights and social justice. She had a skeptical, inquiring mind and a joyous laugh; she never hesitated to challenge conventional wisdom about Haiti, development, human rights or any of the other many issues that engaged her. She was also beautiful and tremendous fun. We miss her terribly.

Lisa left her parents Helena and Samuel Mbele-Mbong of Geneva, her sister Leontyne, and Nady. 

Although ten years have passed, we remember Lisa today with enduring affection and sorrow.