Haiti: what's done, what we've learned, what's next

TORONTO, March 30 /CNW/ -

NEWS

Senior leaders from Canada's top aid agencies (CARE, Free The Children, Oxfam, Plan, Canadian Red Cross, Save the Children, UNICEF and World Vision) are coming together to update Canadians on what has been accomplished in Haiti so far and the reconstruction work ahead.

One day prior to the International Donors' Conference in New York, the agencies are thankful to Canadians for their unprecedented generosity, including $14.3 million to the "Canada for Haiti" telethon in January and millions more donated to individual agencies. This money is being used effectively and efficiently to help Haiti recover and rebuild after January's devastating earthquake.

As the three-month anniversary of the earthquake approaches, Canadian agencies are stressing the importance of collaboration. A "big picture" approach to Haiti's long-term reconstruction is crucial, and the action plan for rebuilding the country must emphasize coordination between the Government of Haiti, the NGO community and other stakeholders to ensure system-wide planning and reforms in education, health, shelter, sanitation and other critical areas.

CONTEXT

The UN estimates the cost of reconstruction will be $11.5 billion. Even before the quake, Haiti was struggling to recover from years of violence, insecurity, economic instability and natural disasters. Canadian aid agencies understand these challenges and continue to apply lessons learned from the 2004 Asian Tsunami response as they partner with Haitians, government, the international community and civil society to rebuild Haiti.

QUOTES

"We are calling on the world leaders who are gathering in New York tomorrow to make sure that, as we transition from emergency response to long-term reconstruction, the immediate needs of Haitians are not forgotten as they discuss and plan for tomorrow's needs." - Kevin McCort, President and CEO, CARE Canada, care.ca

"Over the past few months it has been truly amazing to witness Canada coming together in solidarity providing overwhelming support for Haiti. I'm so proud to be a part of the coalition and could not be more pleased with our collective achievements thus far. But our work is not yet done. Working together with the people of Haiti, we will collectively be able to rebuild the nation providing a bright future to those who've lost so much." - Craig Kielburger, Founder, Free The Children, www.freethechildren.com

"Canada for Haiti showed an unprecedented spirit of collaboration and we want to see that collaboration continue with the Haitian and international communities coming together and working together to rebuild." - Robert Fox, Executive Director, Oxfam Canada, www.oxfam.ca

"The situation in Haiti, as dire as it may seem, has spawned a process of not just rebuilding Haiti as it was, but of engaging Haitians in 're-imagining' Haiti as it could be. Thanks to the generosity of Canadians and people all over the world, we have a chance to turn disaster into opportunity for the families and children of one of the poorest nations on earth." - Rosemary McCarney, President and CEO, Plan Canada, plancanada.ca

"As our urgent mission to Haiti continues, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Canada's television networks, artists and aid agencies for organizing such a successful telethon. The kind response we received from our donors is what allows us to do our important work and we are truly grateful for their generosity." - Conrad Sauvé, Secretary General and CEO, Canadian Red Cross, www.redcross.ca

"International donors must rise to the challenge of not just undoing the damage caused by the earthquake but also of eliminating the problems for children that existed before it: widespread poverty, high child mortality rates, low school enrollment, poor quality education, and child labour." - David Morley, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada, www.savethechildren.ca

"Haiti is a unique challenge for us - not just because of the devastating natural disaster but because of pre-existing barriers to essential services. Our reconstruction efforts give us the opportunity to partner with the government of Haiti to build a country as strong and resilient as the people. With the continued support of Canadians, we can transform society for all Haitians, starting with children." - Kimberly Moran, President and CEO (Acting), UNICEF Canada, www.unicef.ca

"The challenges in Haiti are as big as the challenges in Afghanistan. We need to be transparent with Canadians not only about our finances but our actions-the road ahead is going to be filled with difficulties. We need to be realistic about this, but we are also hopeful." - Dave Toycen, President and CEO, World Vision Canada, worldvision.ca

SOURCE World Vision Canada

For further information: For further information: Graeme Burk, (905) 565-6200 ext. 2251 or graeme_burk@worldvision.ca


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