Haiti: Three years after the earthquake

11 January, 2013
The World Food Program's school feeding programs provide meals to over 680,000 children everyday. The meals help children learn better and encourage them to come to school. Credit: MINISTAH/Logan Abassi
The World Food Program's school feeding programs provide meals to over 680,000 children everyday. The meals help children learn better and encourage them to come to school. Credit: MINISTAH/Logan Abassi

Since the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, UN agencies, humanitarian partners and the Government have reached millions of people with lifesaving aid as well as with opportunities to improve living conditions. Despite the progress, much more needs to be done to help people who are still living in camps, and longer-term solutions are needed to tackle food insecurity and the cholera epidemic. 

"Significant humanitarian needs remain that require a sustained engagement of both humanitarian and development actors,” said the Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti, Nigel Fisher. “Of particular concern is the deteriorating food security situation affecting at least 2.1 million people, which risks evolving into a nutritional crisis if no preventive measures are taken.”
 
The earthquake that hit Haiti on 12 January 2010 killed more than 200,000 people and left about 2 million homeless. Over 1.5 million people ended up in makeshift camps across the country. Three years on, nearly 80 per cent of them have left the camps for more permanent housing. The majority of the rubble has been cleared paving the way for the reconstruction of houses and the rehabilitation of neighbourhoods. 
 
“There has also been a significant increase in primary school enrolment, increased vaccination rates and a decline in acute malnutrition rates among children,” added Mr. Fisher. Over 3 million children have been vaccinated against polio, measles and rubella. The malnutrition rate for children under 5 declined from 9 per cent in 2006 to 5 per cent in 2012. However, more than 800,000 children are still malnourished. 
 
Humanitarian aid needs to be coupled with development programmes to find longer-term solutions to Haiti’s problems, said Mr. Fisher. Some of the solutions include job creation, agricultural development, community-based housing initiatives, disaster risk reduction and improvements to basic infrastructure such as water and sanitation facilities. 
 
Funding for aid work has been declining since 2010. UN agencies and their partners appealed for US$382 million in 2011 but only received about 55 per cent of the required funding. In 2012, they received about 45 per cent of the required funding of $151 million. This year’s appeal for $144 million, which has not received any funding yet, will focus on the most critical needs including supporting people affected by the food crisis.     
 

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