GENEVA/PORT-AU-PRINCE/TORONTO, Jan. 7 /CNW/ - One year after the
devastating January 12 earthquake shook their fragile lives, Haiti's 4
million children continue to suffer from inequitable access to basic
water, sanitation, healthcare, and education services and protection
from disease, exploitation, and unsanitary conditions, UNICEF said
Today, more than 1 million people - approximately 380,000 of whom are
children - still live in crowded camps. The relief and recovery efforts
of Haitians and the international community have been extraordinary
including the support from Canada, which is one of the top ten UNICEF
donor countries to the Haiti emergency. Nonetheless, the United Nations
children's agency noted in its report "Children in Haiti: One Year After - The long road from relief to
recovery" issued today in recognition of the anniversary, that the recovery
process is just beginning.
"Children in particular suffered and continue to suffer enormously
because of successive emergencies experienced in 2010, and they have
yet to fully enjoy their right to survival, health, education, and
protection," said Ms. Francoise Gruloos-Ackermans, UNICEF Haiti
"Haiti poses huge institutional and systemic issues that predated the
earthquake, and that require more than an emergency response to
resolve. This places even more emphasis on the need for organizations
such as UNICEF to focus on developing and reinforcing structural
interventions that will adequately prepare this country and its
inhabitants for the future," Gruloos-Ackermans added.
Kim Moran, UNICEF Canada CEO, recently visited Haiti to witness the
progress by UNICEF and learn of the challenges ahead for the children
of Haiti. "Canadians have to keep attention on Haiti to create the
momentum to effect more change, said Kim Moran, CEO, UNICEF Canada.
"Canadians have been extremely generous and continue to show their
support of the Haitian children. There is money provided by Canadian
and international donors for long term development and together with
strong Haitian leadership we can work with the Haitian people to build
a nation where children have real opportunities.
Responding to the challenges of successive humanitarian emergencies
requires commitment and investment in sustainable solutions for Haiti's
people. Water, sanitation and hygiene were on the decline prior to
January 12, with only 19 per cent of people having access to basic
sanitation facilities in 2006, down from 29 per cent in 1990.
In response, UNICEF provided more than 11,300 latrines serving over
800,000 people. Every day, over 600 latrines are desludged as part of
UNICEF's ongoing efforts to maintain safe sanitation standards. While
challenges remain in both water and sanitation, UNICEF is working to
help implement sustainable solutions that include investing in water
systems and focusing on community-led sanitation.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, UNICEF, WHO and partners
conducted emergency vaccination campaigns immunizing 2 million children
against preventable diseases such as polio, diphtheria, and measles. A
distribution of 360,000 insecticide-treated bednets reached more than
163,000 households in the malaria-endemic southern coastal regions.
At the height of the emergency response, UNICEF and partners trucked a
daily average of 8.3 million litres of safe water to approximately
680,000 people. With the ongoing cholera outbreak, UNICEF is providing
more than 10.9 tons of chlorine and over 45 million water purification
tablets to ensure safe water for 3 million people in the capital city
and the surrounding towns.
The UNICEF-led Child Protection Interagency Working Group helped
register and reunite children who were separated from their families
and worked with national and international partners to put in place 369
Child-Friendly-Spaces for close to 95,000 children across
earthquake-affected areas. UNICEF also initiated prevention and
response activities to gender-based violence, and, importantly, on
child trafficking. In addition, to date, 4,948 children have been
registered and 1,265 have been reunited.
UNICEF and partners helped establish schools, procured tents and
educational materials and allocated resources so that 720,000 children
could resume their lessons, and in some cases, start school for the
first time. Nonetheless, more than half of Haiti's children do not
attend school and school construction continues to be hampered by
rubble clearing and land tenure issues.
The earthquake highlighted the deeply rooted structural problems faced
by Haiti's children, including chronic malnutrition, which affects one
in three children under five years of age. UNICEF worked with partners
to deliver nutritional supplements to address particular needs of
infants and their mothers. By mid-year, a network of 107 'baby friendly
tents' was fully operational, providing nutritional advice and
counseling for mothers and children, including a safe space to
breastfeed. To date, more than 102,000 children and 48,900 mothers have
been reached through these services with nutrition counseling and
"We have seen results in the past year, but significant gaps remain and
much more must be done in collaboration with UN, NGO, private sector,
civil society, and government partners to ensure we are delivering on
our commitments to children and women, including the commitment to
resolve the situation of those still displaced by the earthquake and
those in remote rural areas who struggle to meet their daily needs,"
"Haiti's children have a right to grow up with education, nutrition,
clean water, and safe sanitation; they have a right to be free from
exploitation and disease - and we believe that with support and
commitment, the seeds of recovery and development can be planted and
these goals can be achieved."
The UNICEF Haiti report can be viewed at www.unicef.ca
Note to media: Photos taken over the last twelve months depicting UNICEF in action
and the children of Haiti are available to media. B-roll also
UNICEF is the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development
agency. Through innovative programs and advocacy work, we save
children's lives and secure their rights in virtually every country.
Our global reach, unparalleled influence on policymakers, and diverse
partnerships make us an instrumental force in shaping a world in which
no child dies of a preventable cause. UNICEF is entirely supported by
voluntary donations and helps all children, regardless of race,
religion or politics. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.
SOURCE UNICEF Canada
For further information:
Kathleen Powderley, UNICEF Canada, Communications Specialist, 416-803-5597, email@example.com
Canadian, Jean-Jacques Simon, UNICEF Haiti, Tel: + 509 3702 3698, firstname.lastname@example.org
Canadian, Douglas Armour, UNICEF Haiti, Tel: + 509 3765 7872, email@example.com