UK to help Haiti withstand future disasters

Jan 12, 2013

Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti on 25 October, causing heavy rains and strong winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers. Photo: UN Photo/Logan Abassi

On the third anniversary of Haiti’s devastating earthquake, the UK has announced it will contribute £10 million to help the country be better able to withstand and quickly recover from future catastrophes.

Working with the United Nations, the support will help build disaster resilience in Haiti and assist the Haitian Government in responding to urgent needs on the ground, including:

  • Resettlement of displaced people (there are still over 350,000 people in camps established after the 2010 earthquake);
  • Stimulating the private sector and making it more engaged in disaster risk management;
  • Building on the existing micro-credit and insurance programme for women entrepreneurs; and
  • Investing in livelihoods that help address food insecurity.

The UK’s contribution to building Haiti’s resilience will help reduce the impact of future shocks and ensure the Haitian Government is ready to act immediately when disaster strikes. It will also help improve co-ordination amongst donors in getting vital humanitarian support to those who need it.

International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, said:

“Three years ago, Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake, the effects of which are still felt today. At the time, the UK and the global community stepped up to help Haiti get back on its feet. But Haiti continues to be vulnerable to natural disasters, most recently Hurricane Sandy, which caused huge damage and suffering.

“Today, on this anniversary of the earthquake, the international effort must now be on enabling Haiti to better prepare for, withstand and recover from future shocks. The UK is committed to working with our international partners to ensure Haiti builds long-term resilience. This means boosting a country’s ability to deal with disasters – whether it is helping people in earthquake zones build to withstand shocks or helping poor farmers to grow drought-resistant crops. Reducing the impact of natural disasters saves money, lives and livelihoods, especially in developing countries.”

Helen Clark, Head of the United Nations Development Programme, said:
“We welcome the announcement of UK support for building resilience in Haiti. Earthquakes and hurricanes wipe out lives and livelihoods in an instant. So it’s imperative that the international community not only responds to disasters after they happen, but also ensures that at-risk countries like Haiti are better protected, prepared and able to help themselves when a crisis occurs.”

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