Let’s recognize the progress achieved in Haiti two years later

Port-au-Prince, 10 January 2012 – Despite numerous difficulties and structural challenges, signs of progress and positive results multiply in Haiti as the country marks the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake that hit the country on January 12, 2010.

“These achievements are real and their impact shouldn’t be underestimated” said Nigel Fisher, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti. “They were made possible through the contribution of countless ordinary Haitians, civil society organizations, government institutions, the private sector and the country’s many international partners.”

Between July 2010 and November 2011, the number of persons living in camps has decreased by 65 percent, to 520 000. Every month, programs such as the 16/6 Project, launched last year by the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission and President Michel Martelly, allow thousands of families to find alternative, often permanent housing solutions and resume a more normal life. More than 5 million cubic meters of debris have been cleared from the streets, half of the amount generated by the earthquake. The rate of clearance has been indisputably faster than in post-tsunami Aceh or at the post-9/11 World Trade Centre site. There are now more children in primary school than before the earthquake. Child immunization rates today are significantly higher than they were at mid-decade. A national disaster management contingency plan exists as well a contingency plan for each of the ten departments of the country.

Under the leadership of the Ministry of Public Health and Population, a national cholera alert system is in place; large-scale awareness campaigns and a nationwide network of treatment centres have translated into an overall decrease in both infection and case fatality rates. Various UN-supported programs have created much-needed employment while contributing to rebuilding essential infrastructure. With the assistance of Haitian and international experts seconded by UN organisations to various ministries and institutions, long-term recovery and development plans are being developed, adopted and implemented in areas as diverse as agriculture, education, health, housing and nutrition.

These results and many others are detailed in the Report of the United Nations in Haiti 2011 which is officially released today. “While we recognize the reality of progress”, added Nigel Fisher, “we should not be distracted from the enormous tasks confronting Haiti. Massive and sustained efforts are still required. Short-term assistance must continue to be provided to more than half a million displaced persons still stranded in camps. There are numerous longer-term challenges such as reinforcing central and local governance institutions, strengthening the rule of law, creating a sound, enabling economic environment, accessible social services, improving water supply and sanitation facilities, supporting Haiti’s rich network of civil society organizations, and helping Haitians emerge from poverty. International partners will need to invest in strengthening national institutions so that Haiti can be effectively governed by Haitians, but clear ground rules are needed to guide that partnership and to provide a foundation of mutual trust and accountability.”

“The crisis that followed the first round of elections and the political stalemate that ensued between May and October of last year constituted major obstacles which limited the capacity of the government and its partners to reach several of the objectives they had set for themselves in 2011” concluded Nigel Fisher. “Now, with a new government in place, Haiti is – once again – at a moment of opportunity. While the country’s political and economic leaders bear the prime responsibility for leading their country towards sustainable development, they cannot do so without the accompaniment of international partners. The United Nation System remains a committed partner and will continue to work alongside the government and with the people of Haiti. ”

Contact information

Emmanuelle Schneider
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Spokesperson/Public Information Officer
Mobile: +509 3702 5176
Email: schneider1@un.org

Sylvie van den Wildenberg
Spokesperson
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)
Office: +509 2244 2050 (Ext.: 2691)
Mobile: +509 3702 9042
Email: vandenwildenberg@un.org

Elisabeth Diaz
Office of the Resident Coordinator / Humanitarian Coordinator
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Mobile : +509 3791 9481
Email: elisabeth.diaz@undp.org

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.