Haiti still needs our support

Emergency aid has helped Haitians survive cholera, tropical storms and the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, but the international community must work harder to start long-term reconstruction and development.

January 11, 2011

Emergency aid has helped Haitians survive cholera, tropical storms and the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, but the international community must work harder to start long-term reconstruction and development, members of the HUMANITARIAN COALITION said at news conferences in Toronto and Montréal.

“In the past year, we’ve been able to meet Haitians’ most basic needs, but we’re ready to move forward,” said Oxfam Canada Executive Director Robert Fox. “There’s a huge level of need there and a huge level of frustration. We need to see a renewed commitment to job creation, rubble removal and resettlement to move beyond band-aid emergency aid toward long-term, sustainable solutions."

In the year since the 7.3-magnitude earthquake reduced most of Port-au-Prince to rubble, killing more than 222,000 people and injuring more than 300,000 others, HUMANITARIAN COALITION members have focused on providing shelter, access to health care and medicine, psychosocial support, clean water and new latrines and water lines, as well as fighting the spread of cholera.

“Haitians continue to live with remarkable resilience and optimism,” said David Morley, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada. “We have a responsibility to Haitians, to listen to them and to work with them to rebuild. We must also live up to our promises to the generous donors whose support has made the massive emergency relief and rebuilding effort in Haiti possible”.

Major challenges persist, including significant damage to roads and all other infrastructure, and the instability within the Haitian government.

Despite the barriers, progress is being made. Some 500,000 displaced people have left the camps since July, when the camp population peaked at 1.5 million. That represents a reduction of nearly one-third in five months, and the decrease has been even more dramatic in the semi-urban and rural areas, such as Léogâne.

HUMANTARIAN COALITION members have also managed to reach millions of Haitians with life-saving cholera prevention programs and emergency services and have also helped dozens of communities re-start businesses and prepare for reconstruction with cash-for-work programs. 

“We need to be realistic about what could be achieved within a year,” said Kevin McCort, President and CEO of CARE Canada. “Rebuilding Haiti and making it stronger will take years, but this shouldn’t stop everyone in Haiti -- including aid agencies, the government, and civil society – from challenging themselves to seize momentum, move even faster and achieve more today than yesterday.”

In the aftermath of the earthquake, the HUMANITARIAN COALITION received $28.1 million in donations, including $15.5 million in public and/or corporate donations and $12.6 million from CIDA and/or Quebec government matched funds.

With a combined presence in 120 countries, the joint efforts by the members of THE HUMANITARIAN COALITION provide a widespread and effective response to emergencies

To arrange interviews or for more information, please contact:

Karen Palmer 
karen.palmer@oxfam.ca
(613) 240-3047

To learn more about the HUMANITARIAN COALITION response in Haiti, please visit http://haitiportal.humanitariancoalition.ca/