Today marks the two year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. On that day, hundreds of thousands of Haitians lost their lives and were injured while millions became homeless when the 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Two years later, they are still struggling to rebuild their country and get back to normal, everyday life.
The international community, including the UN, has been integral in the recovery, relief and rebuilding process that still continues today. Over the last week, many journalists and commentators have looked at the current situation on the ground in Haiti. Our national office, UNA-USA, has added to this dialogue via our online magazine, The InterDependent, which you can read here to learn more.
While Haiti has made great strides in the past two years, an emphasis needs to be put on moving Haitians from camps to permanent residences. According to the International Organization for Migration (IMO) report released in July 2011, nearly 500,000 people are still living in 800 camp sites in earthquake-affected areas of Haiti after two years.
A system has been created by the Haitian government as well as aid groups to offer a $500 voucher to camp occupants that can find permanent residences with access to water and marked safe to live in by the government. The voucher is valued at the average year’s rent in Haiti and will allow tenants to get back on their feet once again. The only stipulation that applies is that camp occupants must destroy their old tent as stated by the IMO.
In an effort to fully recover, Haiti is moving towards its transition phase to concentrate on reconstruction, debris removal, and the creation of jobs. Rebeca Grynspan, the Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) believes that,
“It has been a major challenge since that we know that Haiti still needs a combination of humanitarian support… but slowly the emphasis and allocation of resources is shifting towards recovery and reconstruction.”
With that being said, UNDP is responsible for creating 300,000 temporary jobs thus allowing 60,000 Haitian families the opportunity to rebuild their livelihoods. “This is the largest job creation programme we have in the world… 90 percent of the labour force employed in the execution of UNDP projects is Haitian,” Grynspan said.
The recovery phase will take many years, but numerous results have already been observed on the ground over the past 12 months: 50 percent of the debris removed, more than 300,000 jobs created, 60 percent of TB patients cured, 400 hectares of land reforested and 2,000 metres of gabion walls erected, according to the UNDP.
See the video below detailing more of the progress made by Haitians supported by UNDP.
While there is so much more work to be done, progress is being made and will continue to be made, with national Haitian institutions, the UN, other international NGOs, and the United States working collectively to develop a plan for a more vibrant Haitian economy. Check out Huffington Post’s top ten successes of Haiti in the past two years to see the continuous efforts that need to be made and share with us the programs/successes/visions you have for the future of Haiti.
Today marks the One Year Anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The quake leveled the capital city of Port-au-Prince and claimed over 250,000 lives, and left an estimated 1.5 million people homeless, in just 35 seconds. In the year since the quake, the road to recovery has been slow. It is estimated that only five percent of the rubble in the capital city of Port-au-Prince has been cleared. In October 2010, the outbreak of cholera resulted in over 2,500 more deaths. People continue to live in makeshift housing made out of tarps or tents provided by aid organizations.
As we honor the memories of those who lost their lives in the catastrophe, we also need to acknowledge and support the work that is ongoing. The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, is one of the most significant UN presence in Haiti. There are over 9,000 military and 3,000 police in Haiti, from dozens of countries throughout the international community.
• Remembering Haiti: One Year after the Earthquake
Join Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the Haitian Community for an Evening of Remembrance and Reflection.
Date: Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Time: 5:00-8:00 pm
Location: The Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Road, Dorchester, MA
Learn more and download an event flyer here.
• Remember, Reflect, Respond: Haiti One Year Later
Staff and volunteers with Partners in Health invite you to join them to remember those who lost their lives in the Haitian earthquake and honor those unsung heroes who have worked tirelessly to rebuild Haiti.
Date: Friday, January 14, 2011
Time: 6:00-7:30 pm
Location: John Hancock Hall, Back Bay Events Center 180 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA
Learn more and RSVP here.
• A round-up of events can be found online at the Boston Haitian Reporter. Additional information and updates on the election returns, ongoing challenges, and progress made in Haiti can be found here on Karen Ansara’s blog, one of our partners at the Boston Foundation.
Be sure to check that these events are still taking place during this snow weather! If you are unable to get out, there are still things that you can do from home!
In New York, the Secretary-General will conduct a solemn wreath-laying ceremony beginning at 4:45 pm. The ceremonies can be followed via videolink through UN webcast.
Continue the conversation and work on how to support and strengthen Haiti in 2011!