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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Summit to Protect Oceans Opens

Oceans called fundamental to life
More

Actress Lupita Nyong'o is People's 'Most Beautiful' Woman

Oscar winner, 31, lauded for role in '12 Years A Slave' says she 'never dreamed' she would be praised for her looks and land on cover of weekly magazine
More

Violent Protests Erupt Near Rio's Tourist Attractions

The rioting was sparked after word spread that the body of Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira, a dancer on Brazil's Globo television network, had been discovered
More

Russia Expels Canadian Diplomat

Reports say first secretary's expulsion in Moscow is in retaliation for deportation of Russian military attache from Russian Embassy in Ottawa
More

Photogallery Fans Pay Tribute to Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Mexico City

Colombian Nobel laureate author died in Mexico on Thursday at age 87
More

Venezuelan Protesters Burn Leaders in Effigy

Hundreds take to streets of Caracas Easter Sunday demanding ‘resurrection of democracy; President Maduro’s image among those burnt
More