News / Americas

UN: Rebuilding Earthquake-Shattered Haiti Will Take Years

A resident leaves a camp for victims affected by the January 12 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, 11 Jul 2010
A resident leaves a camp for victims affected by the January 12 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, 11 Jul 2010
Lisa Schlein

United Nations and international aid agencies say significant progress has been made in helping Haitians recover from the earthquake that devastated their country almost one year ago. But, they acknowledge humanitarian operations fall far short of what is needed to rebuild Haitian society.

Last year’s earthquake killed about one-quarter of a million people.  The outpouring of International aid to the relief effort was large and immediate.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies alone received more than $1 billion in donations. Red Cross spokesman, Paul Conneally, says this has been the largest response ever received by the organization in its entire history, including the tsunami operations in Asia several years ago.

Despite all the achievements, he says the goal of reconstructing destroyed cities and rebuilding shattered lives and livelihoods remains a very long-term one.

“Nobody can pretend that this has been a hugely successful humanitarian response,” Conneally said. “If anything, it demonstrates the limitations of humanitarian action. There are massive developmental challenges. The Red Cross, for instance is explaining itself in playing metropolitan roles, which it is not set up for in terms of provision of water and sanitation to the Metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince.…We are still basically in emergency phase, obviously looking at recovery as well. We are very much involved in recovery and looking at the long term. But, it is still basically emergency action in many, many areas.”  

Along with earthquake recovery, the Red Cross and other international agencies have had to deal with additional disasters. They have had to rescue people from hurricanes and severe flooding. And, they continue to work to stem the debilitating affects of a severe cholera outbreak.  Latest figures from the Haitian Ministry of Health show nearly 3,500 people have died of cholera, including 210 children below the age of five. So far, it reports more than 157,000 people have been infected with the disease.

A spokeswoman for the U.N. Children’s Fund, Marixie Mercado, agrees the international responses to humanitarian emergencies are never perfect and Haiti is no exception. And yet, she says when aid agencies work together they do save lives and improve the condition of people victimized by disaster.

“In the cholera response, for example, the case fatality rates in the camps are lower than they are elsewhere,” said Mercado. “And, I think that does have to do with having better access to sanitation, safe water and health services.”  

The humanitarian crisis in Haiti is far from over. Aid agencies say they are more united than ever in their determination to improve the lives of those who have survived the earthquake.

They say they are committed to, what they call, building back better. They say they will provide the shelter, the food, the jobs, the safe water and sanitation, the health and education needed for rehabilitation.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Video Hispanics Welcome Obama Immigration Action, With Reservations

Activists say while president’s action is an important step, a more lasting solution agreed upon by Congress is needed
More

Video Obama to Rally Support for Immigration Overhaul

President to hold campaign-style event aimed at convincing Americans of merits of plan in Las Vegas on Friday
More

Mexicans Hold Rally for Missing Students

Skirmishes outside Mexico City's National Palace marred a mostly peaceful rally attended by thousands of people
More

Bruised Venezuelan Opposition May Make Headway in 2015

Much-touted 're-launch' of Venezuela's opposition in October had poor turnout
More

Accused Colombian Drug Kingpin Admits to US Cocaine Scheme

For second time in two months, Daniel Barrera pleads guilty to federal charges in New York courtroom
More

Mexico's President Discloses $3 Million in Assets

Pushed by scandal over first lady's mansion, Enrique Pena Nieto's makes public value of other assets, including investments, jewelry and art
More