|A Haitian girl displaced by the earthquake fetches water from newly installed taps in Champs de Mars Plaza, Port-au-Prince. The water comes from a collapsible tank provided by UNICEF, which is depending upon donor support to sustain and expand its relief effort in Haiti.|
By Tim Ledwith
NEW YORK, USA, 19 January 2010 – As the full magnitude of the crisis in Haiti continues to unfold, donors have rushed to provide UNICEF with funding to meet the needs of children and families at risk.
Support from government, corporate and individual donors is critical to the relief effort in Port-au-Prince and other areas devastated by the 12 January earthquake.
"Food, fuel and water are key elements that are needed now," said UNICEF Director of Public Sector Alliances and Resource Mobilization Afshan Khan. "And we very much appreciate the support we've gotten from donors thus far to be able to scale up our operations."
Overall, UNICEF has appealed for $128 million to fund its emergency response in Haiti over the next six months. The funding request was part of a UN-wide appeal for $575 million. Since the disaster struck a week ago today, donors worldwide have given and pledged generously to help UNICEF assist quake-affected Haitian children, starting with lifesaving water-and-sanitation supplies.
But the needs of quake-affected children remain overwhelming.
|© NBAE/Getty Images/Dow|
|Samuel Dalembert of the Philadelphia 76ers presents US Fund for UNICEF President Caryl Stern with a $100,000 cheque before a basketball game against the Sacramento Kings on 15 January 2010.|
Public and private donor support
"We've received quite strong support from the outset from public and private donors. The fastest money to come in was from our National Committees," Ms. Khan noted, referring to the partner organizations that raise funds and advocate on UNICEF's behalf in 36 industrialized countries.
"The European Commission has also made a very strong commitment of support," she added. Many other governments around the world have pledged funds, as well.
For its part, the corporate sector has pitched in with cash and in-kind contributions. British Airways, for example, was among the first airlines to donate a plane used to fly relief supplies to Haiti; DHL, UPS, Air France/KLM and Thomas Cook Airways are also offering air-transport assistance.
Meanwhile, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors are raising general public awareness of the plight of Haitian children – and some celebrities have taken a more direct role in fundraising.
|Workers from the international non-governmental organization Oxfam set up a water bladder provided by UNICEF for displaced families encamped at the Sports Centre in the Carrefour district of Port-au-Prince.|
In the United States, several stars appeared last night on a special edition of CNN's 'Larry King Live' to help raise millions of dollars for earthquake relief, including funds for UNICEF. The MTV networks are planning a major fundraising telecast hosted by actor George Clooney on Friday. And in the sports world, Haitian-American National Basketball Association player Samuel Dalembert has personally pledged $100,000 to UNICEF's crisis response.
Even as donors continue to fill the funding gaps, more aid is beginning to get into the earthquake zone:
As more resources become available and logistical problems on the ground are resolved, the flow of relief assistance is expected to accelerate in devastated areas of Haiti. Working with its donors and partners, UNICEF is planning for the needs of quake-affected children for the next six months and beyond, in hopes of building a stronger foundation for their future.
Earthquake in Haiti