Two years after earthquake, little victories for children in Haiti recovery
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, 9 January 2012 – A report by UNICEF titled “Children of Haiti – Two Years After” emphasises that the situation for children in Haiti is slowly improving, though critical challenges remain. According to the report, there is clear evidence of healing and progress for children, particularly in the areas of education, health, nutrition and child protection.
“About 5 million cubic metres of rubble has been cleared, almost two-thirds of persons in shelters have moved out of public and private land and the education system has managed to expand access for more than 700, 000 children,” said UNICEF’s representative in Haiti, Françoise Gruloos-Ackermans.
Today, more than 750,000 children have returned to school and some 80,000 of them are now attending classes in 193 safe, earthquake-resistant schools constructed by UNICEF. Over 120,000 children enjoy structured play in one of the 520 child friendly spaces created. More than 15,000 malnourished children have also received life-saving care in 314 therapeutic feeding programs supported by UNICEF. In addition, 95 rural communities have launched new programs to improve sanitation. In the area of child protection, the government of Haiti has strengthened its legal framework for institutionalised children, something that was not done before the earthquake.
Now, with UNICEF’s support, the first ever Directory of Residential Care Facilities has been launched; so far more than half of the country’s 650 centres have been assessed; and over 13,400 children (out of an estimated 50,000 living in residential care) have been registered. The government has also signed the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption, which protects the rights of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents by establishing minimum standards for adoptions.
"There is evidence of little victories everywhere, although serious gaps and inadequacies in Haiti’s basic governance structures remain. The country will need strong and steadfast support to overcome the challenges it still faces,” said Gruloos-Ackermans.
The report notes that most of the 4,316,000 children under 18 have only limited opportunities for survival, development and protection. More than 500,000 individuals still shelter in over 800 different displacement sites across the earthquake-affected area. Some 77 per cent were renters before the earthquake, meaning most have no homes to return to.
In addition, funding gaps still remain. UNICEF is appealing for US $24 million for immediate humanitarian needs in 2012 to support vulnerable children through five key projects in health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education, and child protection. Another US $30 million is needed for longer term development assistance.
UNICEF works in more than 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’s work visit: www.unicef.org
For further information, please contact:
Indra Kumari Nadchatram
UNICEF Media Malaysia
Tel +6019 658 5160, firstname.lastname@example.org