TOKYO, 20 November 2012 – Japan has decided to contribute nearly USD $1.2 million by way of UNICEF to the most vulnerable children in Haiti after Hurricane Sandy claimed at least 54 lives, destroying more than 6,000 houses and damaging close to 34,000.
Although Haiti dodged Sandy’s direct hit, the hurricane triggered heavy rain and severe flooding in the country between 23 and 27 October, and devastated at least 70 out of Haiti’s 140 communes. It also destroyed some 90,000 hectares of agricultural land and crops in at least 60 communes.
About 3,000 people are currently living in emergency shelters and another 3,000 remain without access to alternative shelter solutions. Sandy also decapitated eight nutrition rehabilitation centers and about 61 cholera treatment centers.
This disaster generated new humanitarian needs after Tropical Storm Isaac had already flooded 40 percent of the harvest in the drought-stricken country in August. Up to 450,000 people remain at risk of malnutrition and 4,000 children under five face severe acute malnutrition. In addition, more than 1.5 million people are going through severe food insecurity due to the combined effect of natural disasters.
Japan’s emergency grant aid came in just when UNICEF and other aid agencies were urged to prevent the downward slide into a nutrition crisis. The grant will be dedicated to UNICEF’s two main sectors: the area of “water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH),” and the “nutrition” sector.
With this contribution, UNICEF Haiti, along with other partners, plans to mitigate cholera and other water-borne diseases and reinforce the country’s emergency capacities; and to prevent child malnutrition, treat severe acute cases effectively, and prevent a nutrition crisis through targeted supplementary feeding and preventive nutritional support.
“Without rapid humanitarian action, this crisis is likely to accelerate cholera transmission, erode the nutrition status of children, and could potentially reverse the gains made in post-earthquake recovery in the last three years,” states Edouard Beigbeder, the UNICEF Representative in Haiti.
“UNICEF will support the Government of Haiti to respond to challenges posed by Hurricane Sandy and the impact of additional unforeseen disasters on vulnerable children including those with disabilities and girls.”
Responding to the critical situation and the inter-agency appeal, the Government of Japan and UNICEF will forge a short-term humanitarian partnership between December 2012 and May 2013.
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For further information, please contact:
Christophe Boulierac, UNICEF Haiti,
Tel + 509 3787 1822
Kate Donovan, UNICEF New York,
Tel + 1 212 326 7452