Haiti earthquake - UNICEF relief actions
NEW YORK – KYIV, 26 January 2010 – Two weeks after the earthquake that devastated Haiti, UNICEF continues to reach children with life-saving support, including urgently needed safe water. Many of the disaster’s worst effects – including its impact on child health and safety – are aggravated by the country’s longstanding impoverishment and instability.
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.
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.
“Yes, delivering relief into the country has been exceedingly difficult. Yes, logistics and communications have taken time”, said Yukie Mokuo UNICEF Representative in Ukraine. “But this means nothing in the face of these children who need us. We will do whatever it takes to save these children, no matter how difficult, how seemingly impossible”.
UNICEF and its partners are focused, as well, on providing for children who are lost or have been orphaned or separated from their families. Safe spaces for all children under five should be available by the end of the week. So far, safe spaces have been identified for about 1,000 children. But the needs of quake-affected children remain overwhelming.
Public and private donor support
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.
Led by George Clooney and Wyclef Jean, MTV staged a “Hope for Haiti” telethon and raised $58 million to date 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.
Even as donors continue to fill the funding gaps, more aid is beginning to get into the earthquake zone. To date, three planeloads of UNICEF supplies have landed in Haiti and one has touched down in the neighbouring Dominican Republic; more supply flights are planned in the coming days. UNICEF is scaling up distribution of safe water daily. Yesterday, 80,000 people received drinking water from tanks positioned around Port-au-Prince and hospitals in the capital received 120,000 litres.
Today, UNICEF warehouse tents bound for Haiti, via the Dominican Republic, left the United Arab Emirates in donated cargo space aboard an Emirates Airlines flight.
Tomorrow, 90 metric tonnes of emergency aid – including, shelter materials, nutrition kits, essential medicines and water-and-sanitation supplies – will leave on a UNICEF commercial flight from Billund, Denmark, to Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.
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.
The earthquake that struck Haiti a week ago has left many thousands of children orphaned, lost or separated from their families – and vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Even as it works to provide for the immediate needs of young survivors of the disaster, UNICEF is focusing on how to protect the most vulnerable among them. The issue is critical, given that nearly half of all Haitians are under 18 years of age, and almost 40 per cent are under 14.
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