Support the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal

News and Press Release
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Haiti's worst earthquake for two centuries has devastated one of the world's poorest countries. Older people will potentially be among the worst affected because many will be too frail to overcome the trauma and will be unable to fend for themselves.

- Donate to the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal

As part of the Disasters Emergency Committee, Age Concern & Help the Aged will work with other agencies to fundraise and coordinate emergency efforts to avoid duplication and increase effectiveness.

Authorities estimate that up to 3 million people have been affected by the quake and older people will be among the most vulnerable. The death toll is now feared to be in tens of thousands.

Bertin Meance from our sister organisation HelpAge International reported from the Haiti office that, 'The situation is indescribable... Thousands of people were seen leaving Port-au-Prince probably to find their families in the rural areas. Those who were lucky left with their dead to bury them at home tonight.'

'It will take years of support for Haitians to overcome the situation and this is the time when Haiti needs the solidarity of all humankind.'

'Those who were lucky left with their dead to bury them at home tonight.'

Bertin noted that everyone in Port-au-Prince will face food and water shortages in the near future.

- Please support the DEC appeal

Older people in Haiti

There are approximately 800,000 people over the age of 60 in Haiti - about 7 percent of the population. Many of these older people take care of grandchildren orphaned by AIDS.

Thousands of older people are homeless and need temporary shelters. They are also traumatised by the earthquake and by the deaths of relatives and friends.

Our priority will be to help older people obtain relief assistance and medical care. Our partners will also make sure that older people, or their representatives, take part in key relief and recovery meetings.

- Donate to help older people in Haiti

Our work in Haiti

We have been working with local and international partners in Haiti for eight years through HelpAge International, our sister organisation. As soon as a full needs assessment is completed in Haiti we will use local expertise to assist older people affected by this disaster.

Our Sponsor a Grandparent programme supports local partner CARPA, which promotes the rights of older people in Haiti. They operate a health clinic and a mobile unit to improve health care for older people as well as providing food aid.

Another partner is APROSIFA, which for 16 years has provided health services to people in the slums of Port-Au-Prince. Older people aged 55 and over are welcome at their community clinics which provide free medication.

Before the quake hit Haiti, APROSIFA identified that the most urgent need for older people was provision of food and opportunities for recreational activities and socialisation.

Further information on Haiti

Haiti became the world's first black republic at the beginning of the 19th century when it overthrew French colonial rule. It occupies about a third of an island in the Caribbean - the Dominican Republic taking up the rest of the territory.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Decades of violence and political instability mean the country has very poor infrastructure and is environmentally degraded. Haiti is a mainly mountainous country which over the past 10 years has had a series of hurricanes and floods which have devastated its land and people.

The earthquake which struck this January is the 15th disaster which has required foreign aid to help Haitians since 2000. Three quarters of the population live on less than $2 a day and 56 per cent live on less than $1 a day.