After January’s quake, humanitarian action in Haiti averts worse crisis for children, but much remains to be done
Three months after the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti and left its mark on over a million children, UNICEF today reports that the unprecedented humanitarian response has averted a worse crisis for children – but warns that there is much still to be done, not least as Haiti approaches the annual rainy season.
In its summary of activities after the 12 January quake – Children of Haiti: Three Months After the Earthquake – UNICEF notes that despite massive destruction and disruption to key services:
However, the report also highlights key challenges in areas such as provision of sanitation, risks of violence against women and girls living in displacement camps, and the broader issue of much-reduced government and civil society capacity. Many government ministries and departments lost buildings, personnel and vital data.
UNICEF identifies urgent provision of improved shelter for displaced families, increased provision of basic services and strengthened protection of women and children as urgent priorities. UNICEF is working already with other organizations to support the safe relocation of families living in the most vulnerable camps to new locations ahead of the rainy season.
The report also calls for support for ‘transformative agenda’ for Haiti’s children, which places children at the centre of recovery and reconstruction efforts. In particular, UNICEF singles out tackling the trend of chronic malnutrition, creating a protective environment for children, and ensuring education for every child as critical priorities for the future development of the country.
These priorities, says the report, stand out as both urgent in the short term and essential to the progressive and full realization of rights by children.
Edward Carwardine, UNICEF Haiti, + 509 38 81 23 71, + 1 646 651-2492, firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Media, New York, + 1 212 326-7426, email@example.com