News / Americas

    Haiti's Children Still Face Problems

    Jennifer Glasse

    UNICEF's head of child protection says nearly three months after the earthquake that devastated the country, many challenges remain for children in Haiti.  

    Even before the January earthquake that devastated the tiny Caribbean nation of Haiti, the country's children were living in difficult circumstances.

    Child Protection official, Aaron Greenberg, of the U.N. children's agency says the statistics are shocking.

    "Estimates of 50,000 children, prior to the earthquake, in residential care," Greenberg said. "In orphanages or residential care, not only the numbers, but the degree of un-regulation, the lack of regulation of those services."

    Greenberg says the children in Haitian orphanages were not necessarily orphans - defined as a child who had lost one or both parents.  He says  poverty is the main reason so many children were in care.   

    "Families who have very little options in terms of services in the community will see an orphanage as a way of providing food, a way of providing health care to their children. Possibly even education, so it is not necessarily a lack of adequate family care, but perhaps lack of resources at community level," Greenberg said.

    UNICEF's Child Protection chief Susan Bissell says child trafficking is an increasing problem.

    "Trafficking was a problem before the earthquake and it is an ongoing concern right now," Bissell said. "We know that traffickers fish in pools of vulnerability and mobility and we have got lots of vulnerability and mobility right now."

    Bissell says UNICEF's ultimate goal is to find a place for each child.

    "One has to really seriously look at, 'How do we insure that every child in Haiti has a permanent family arrangement in which they remain so they are not in institutions?'  And maybe that family is their own family, maybe it is extended family, maybe it is a permanent fostering arrangement that is monitored and maybe ultimately it is inter-country adoption.  There are lots of permanent family arrangements for children," Bissell said.

    Bissell says there has been progress with more systems in place to support children, but she says the weather is a looming challenge.  

    The rainy season usually starts in May, and can be accompanied by hurricanes.  With much of the earthquake affected population living outside or in makeshift accommodation, she says that could cause problems with health and hygiene, sanitation, contaminate drinking water, and spread communicable diseases.

    But  UNICEF's Greenberg, the crisis has also brought opportunity.

    "The amount of money that pours into a small country like Haiti, post crisis, can be channeled to issues that existed pre-crisis," Greenberg said. "So not only are you assisting those families and children who are directly affected, but you are also helping to transform the way Haiti was dealing with the issue prior to the crisis."

    UNICEF officials emphasize protecting the country's children is complex and will take a long-term investment of human and financial resources.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    More Americas News

    Brazil Troops Battle Zika Mosquitoes

    Nationwide offensive is part of President Dilma Rousseff's declared war on the virus that has quickly spread across the Americas

    Pope-Patriarch Meeting Seen by Russians as Significant

    Meeting in Havana on Friday between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill was the first between the two church's leaders

    The Internet Comes to Cuba ... Slowly

    Smartphones prevalent, but only to make or receive calls, as mobile Internet access severely limited to certain areas; restriction has its charms, some say

    Daily Flights Between US, Cuba Planned for Later this Year

    Agreement to be signed Tuesday in Havana allowing up to 110 flights a day; US law prohibiting travel to Cuba for tourist activities remains in effect

    Cuba's Organic Honey Exports Create Buzz

    Organic honey joins list of country's key agricultural exports, as pesticide use has been linked to declining bee populations elsewhere

    Colombia's ELN Rebels Declare 72-hour Lockdown

    Move, set to begin on Sunday, will restrict transport and commerce amid signs of further delays in their efforts to begin peace talks