United Nations: Much more help still needed in Haiti

12 Feb 2010

Port-au-Prince/New York - One month after the Haiti earthquake, many lives have been saved because of the bravery and fortitude of the Haitian people and their leaders, and the collective generosity and urgency shown by individuals, governments and the private sector, but the enormity of the destruction and the scale of suffering means much more remains to be done.

The United Nations estimates that more than 3 million people – one in every three Haitians – were severely affected by the earthquake, of whom 2 million need regular food aid. Over 1.1 million people are homeless, many of them still living under sheets and cardboard in makeshift camps. The Government of Haiti estimates that at least 300,000 people were injured during the quake.

All this in a country considered a priority for humanitarian assistance before the earthquake.

Much has been achieved during the first month of the response, thanks to the generosity of donors which have already provided 95% of the funds requested in the Haiti Flash Appeal to cover the first six months after the earthquake. The Appeal is currently being revised based on recent assessments that have taken place.

Thanks to the Haitian police, the UN and US and Canadian forces, the security situation is stable, which is allowing aid to get to those who need it. Reinforcements of the UN Mission MINUSTAH are on the way, and will provide additional military and police, further bolstering security.

The UNDP cash-for-work programme. Workers removing rubble from the streets of Martissant, a suburb of Port-au-Prince ,very near to the epicentre of the earthquake.
Photo: Adam Rogers/UNDP
The World Food Programme (WFP) began delivering food assistance within 24 hours of the earthquake in Haiti and has now reached 2.5 million people in the capital, Port-Au-Prince, and outlying areas. In addition, WFP has been delivering food rations to orphanages and hospitals. Large scale food assistance programmes will be required for months to come and will require major financial commitments from donors.

Work on improving shelter, creating latrines and drainage and coordinating the delivery of essential services continues. With 1.2 million Haitians in urgent need of shelter before the rainy season, over 270,000 people have so far received some shelter equipment – tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, and in some cases tents. The Red Cross Red Crescent response, including the Haitian National Society, has been the biggest in one country in the entire history of the Movement. The International Organization for Migration and its partners are working with Government of Haiti counterparts to secure additional land for temporary shelters that will be safe from flooding or landslides.

In the fight against disease, UNICEF and its partners have made clean water available to over 900,000 people, and with the World Health Organization and partners UNICEF is carrying out a major immunization campaign for 500,000 children aged below seven.

In addition about 35,000 people are already working in a cash for work programme led by the United Nations Development Programme. The programme is expected to reach 100,000 people and eventually double that. UN Habitat has established emergency solid waste collection systems in Port-Au-Prince.

“Given what they went through in this unimaginable tragedy, the people of Haiti have shown extraordinary resilience and courage,” said John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. “The urgency and generosity shown by the world in the first days and weeks after the earthquake are still needed.

“There are still hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti who are hungry and desperate for proper shelter and more help,” he added.

Contact Information

International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent – Alex Wynter, +509 3491 9313, alex.wynter@btopenworld.com
International Organisation for Migration – Jean-Philippe Chauzy, +509 3643 7914, jpchauzy@iom.int
UN Children’s Fund – Patrick McCormick, +1 917 582 7546, pmccormick@unicef.org
UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations – Nick Birnback, +1 917 367 5044, birnback@un.org
UN Development Programme – Stanislav Saling, +1 212 906 5296, stanislav.saling@undp.org
UN Habitat – Hawa Diallo, +1 212 963 2718, habitatny@un.org
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Stephanie Bunker, +1 347 244 2106, bunker@un.org
UN World Food Programme - Bettina Luescher, +1 646 824 1112, bettina.luescher@wfp.org
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