Haiti

Emergency Relief Coordinator’s Key Messages on Haiti - 12 January 2012, Issue Number 22

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I. Key Messages

  1. Two years after the devastating earthquake of 12 January 2010, a massive and sustained humanitarian operation has yielded remarkable results. Almost a million people have moved from camps to homes. Under extremely challenging conditions, five million cubic metres of debris have been removed – half of the amount generated by the earthquake. 400,000 houses have been inspected for damage, and shelters have been provided to 420,000 people. Schools and hospitals have been rebuilt, and more children are being educated today than before the earthquake. These are significant achievements that should be recognised.

  2. While it is important now to focus on longer-term development, we should remember that the humanitarian crisis in Haiti is not over. More than 500,000 people still live in camps, and a cholera epidemic continues to claim lives. The underlying structural challenges, including under-development and governance, need to be addressed as we move from crisis to recovery.

  3. The numbers of displaced people living in camps has dropped by two thirds, since its 2010 peak of 1.5 million. This is positive, but concerns remain about the situation of many of those who have left, as well as for the welfare of those still there. The difficult situation in the camps is exacerbated by the ongoing threat of evictions. Water and sanitation services are under increasing pressure due to dwindling funds, and reports of sexual and gender-based violence in the camps are increasing. Humanitarian organisations must find creative ways to deal with this situation.

  4. A massive and coordinated response to the cholera epidemic led to a significant drop in fatality rates, from 2.4 per cent in November 2010 to 1.3 per cent in December 2011. But these gains are threatened by funding limitations, which have led to the closure of water and sanitation services. Inadequate sanitation, insufficient sources of clean water, and rains and flooding during the rainy season pose serious risks, and may lead to further cases.

  5. As Haiti moves from crisis to recovery and long-term development, humanitarian responders must establish stronger links with development organizations, and join efforts to strengthen state capacity. This work must be supported by predictable funding. This requires greater coordination, transparency and collaboration between the Government and the international community.

For more information, please contact:
Amanda Pitt, acting OCHA NY Spokesperson, pitta@un.org, Tel. +1 917 367 5126 (desk), +1 917 442 1810 (cell);
Mark Turner, Deputy OCHA NY Spokesperson, turner5@un.org, Tel. +1 917 367 5707 (desk)

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.