NEW YORK, USA, 9 July 2010 – It has been six months since a devastating earthquake killed over 220,000 people and disrupted the lives of millions more in Haiti. UNICEF freelance photographer Marta Ramoneda recently returned from a two-week trip to the Caribbean nation, where she documented the recovery efforts now under way there.
|VIDEO: Over a slidehow of some of her images, UNICEF freelance photographer Marta Ramoneda talks about documenting Haiti's ongoing recovery from the effects of the January earthquake.|
The situation is still very difficult for many of the earthquake survivors Ms. Ramoneda met. About 1.6 million people are still living in makeshift settlements, and hundreds of thousands have migrated away from the quake-affected areas.
|A girl carries a jug of water in a tent settlement for earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.|
“There are a lot of people and a lot of children that don’t have their basic needs covered because the situation before the earthquake was already very difficult,” she said.
Among the images that affected Ms. Ramoneda the most, she recalled, were the living conditions faced by displaced people during the rainy season.
“A lot of the tents were broken. People were under the water, and their tents were surrounded by this muddy water, and it was really frustrating for them,” she said. “And it was really frustrating for me to see that they still need a proper place to stay now that the rains are coming and the hurricane season is there.”
|A woman walks past the rubble of a destroyed building in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.|
UNICEF and its partners have been working to help improve water and sanitation in the settlements for the displaced, and Ms. Ramoneda photographed UNICEF supplies as well as sanitation facilities set up at the camps. She said these crucial interventions – including latrines and water points – likely helped avoid serious outbreaks of disease that can occur in crowded camps that lack basic sanitation infrastructure and safe-water access.
Focus on children
Even before the earthquake, about three-quarters of the Haitian population lived on less than $2 a day. This latest catastrophe has exacerbated the country’s already critical humanitarian situation.
In the capital, major government buildings and private infrastructure – including hospitals, water and sanitation facilities, the electrical system, and telecommunications, banks and transport – have been destroyed or heavily damaged.
|A Haitian boy leans on a wall as food vendors remove their fruit stall from the street during a rainstorm in quake-ravaged downtown Port-au-Prince.|
UNICEF is working with the Haitian Government, other UN agencies, international and local non-governmental organizations and private partners to help the country rebuild. The recovery efforts place a special focus on nearly half of Haiti’s approximately 10 million inhabitants who are under the age of 18. UNICEF is the lead coordinating agency for nutrition, water and sanitation, and child protection. It also shares lead coordinating duties on education with Save the Children, and is a key partner in the area of health.
“While there’s a slow improvement,” said Ms. Ramoneda, “Haiti will continue to need our support for a long time.”
Earthquake in Haiti