Haiti

Future of Haiti's children put at risk by underfunding, warns Save the Children

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Two years after the Haiti earthquake, a severe funding shortage is threatening recovery programmes in the country and putting children’s futures at risk, warns Save the Children.

The charity is urgently calling for the international community to fulfil its existing commitments to Haiti and increase long-term funding to build on the significant achievements made since the earthquake, as well as to scale up efforts to address the continuing cholera crisis.

Since the earthquake, Save the Children has reached 1.2 million people through medical clinics and cholera treatment centres. 40,000 people were given long-term access to clean water. Save the Children’s work on schools, including the construction of 229 classrooms and the training of over 1,200 teachers, has enabled 30,000 children to get to school – many for the first time. In addition, 3,500 families were given desperately needed cash grants to buy food, clean water and other essentials.

Save the Children also helped reunify children with their families after the earthquake and planned and supported community efforts to protect children threatened by violence, abuse, and exploitation.

But Haiti is a complex environment and massive needs remain.

“While we see signs of change in Haiti, there are still approximately 500,000 people living in makeshift tents,” said Gary Shaye, Save the Children’s Country Director in Haiti. “Children living in these conditions are extremely vulnerable to events such as hurricanes and outbreaks of diseases. Only six months from the next hurricane season, a long-term solution needs to be found before another emergency occurs.”

Shaye warned that with insufficient long-term funding, Save the Children’s support for children and families affected by the earthquake could be in danger. This work, in addition to helping people to prepare for future disasters, is crucial to ensure that Haiti’s children can survive their childhoods and develop to their fullest potential.

“Save the Children has raised almost three-quarters of the total needed but with emergency funds drying up for Haiti, our plan for recovery is being placed in jeopardy,” added Shaye. “The challenge now is to continue the momentum. If we stop now, the gains that have been made for Haitian families could be lost.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact Lynette Lim at +65 91864946 or lynette.lim@savethechildren.org.

Note to editors:

A devastating earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. More than 220,000 people were killed and 2.3 million others were displaced in one of the worse natural disasters the world has ever seen. In October 2010, humanitarian efforts were further challenged by a cholera epidemic which continues today and has claimed over 6,700 lives according to the United Nations.

In 2010, Save the Children set a fundraising target of $175 million to fund a five-year strategy for recovery in Haiti. To date, we have raised about $128 million, but having spent $100 million responding to the triple crises of the earthquake, cholera outbreak and Hurricane Tomas, we still require need $47 million more over the next three years.

So far, Save the Children’s work has included:

  • Emergency support to more than 270 schools in the first year, enabling more than 45,000 children to return to their studies and complete the 2010-2011 school year.
  • More than 31,500 children have been enrolled in 176 schools reached by Save the Children’s Quality Education Initiative, which focuses on teacher and school administrator training, providing teaching and classroom materials and formation of parent support groups.
  • Save the Children has rebuilt 38 schools in earthquake-affected areas benefiting 13,575 children.
  • Overall, some 650 schools have been repaired. Some 75 percent of children living in tent camps attend school. And, according to the United Nations, 1.1 million children are receiving a daily meal at school.
  • Aid agencies have built more than 100,000 transitional shelters and more than 4,500 permanent shelters.
  • According to the United Nations, more than 400,000 people have been employed in labour intensive jobs such as rubble removal, irrigation works and brick making.