13 Mar 2015
Sophie de Caen, Senior Country Director, Haiti
Haitians set up impromtu tent cities through the capital after an earthquake measuring 7 plus on the Richter scale rocked Port au Prince in 2010. Photo: Logan Abassi/UN
Haiti has come a long way since the earthquake shook the country five years ago. In spite of the immense challenges, Haiti has made notable progress in health and education, as the Government of Haiti-UNDP Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Report shows. Today the country also has a more risk-informed approach to development, with more retaining walls, safer housing, and simulation exercises for better preparedness.
National efforts, supported by both humanitarian and development assistance, have clearly made an impact. But a much bigger impact is needed.
Prior to the earthquake, there were several grave development challenges, including poverty (which today stands at 60 percent of the population). Building standards were poor and houses were built in risk prone areas. With such fragility, the consequences of a small earthquake would be dreadful. But instead, a huge earthquake struck one of the most vulnerable areas—and hit the poorest hardest.
Haiti can prevent future tragedies. This entails working on priority issues such as education, health, employment, social protection, environment and, importantly, climate change and disaster resilience.
This week, the Government of Haiti, the United Nations and partners launched a Transitional Appeal (TAP) seeking US$401 million for the next two years, focusing on boosting resilience …