Haiti: Two years after the devastating earthquake
Two years ago, a powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, leaving in its wake a trail of massive destruction including more than 200,000 people dead and 2.3 million people displaced.
One of the largest humanitarian responses ever mounted was launched to provide assistance to the survivors of the most destructive urban disaster in recent history. Ten months later, humanitarian actors faced a new crisis when a severe cholera epidemic broke and spread rapidly across the entire country.
Two years on, a sustained and colossal humanitarian operation in response to the earthquake and the cholera epidemic has yielded remarkable results and continues to save lives.
Today, almost one million people have moved from camps to homes. The collapse of 70,000 buildings generated 10 million cubic metres of debris, 50 per cent of which has now been removed. Transitional shelters have been provided to 420,000 people.
Schools and hospitals have been rebuilt, and more children are being educated today than before the earthquake. A joint national contingency plan, developed with the international community for the first time, has been replicated in all 10 departments in Haiti should another major natural disaster strike the country.
Since the beginning of the cholera epidemic, health partners have scaled up human and material capacities to support the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP). Thousands of hospital beds were set up, tons of medication, soap and water-purification tablets were distributed and thousands of community members were trained in hygiene promotion. This has resulted in a steady decrease in fatality rates, which declined from a peak of 2.4 per cent in November 2010 to 1.3 today.
Haiti is taking the road to recovery, with several large-scale reconstruction projects being launched. But humanitarian assistance will still be needed in 2012 to provide basic services to more than half a million displaced people still stranded in camps. And it will still be needed to contain the cholera epidemic that has so far killed 7,000 people and infected 500,000 Haitians.
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