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Looking to the long-term in Haiti

08/01/2013

Young girls in a classroom looking at booksThree years after the 2010 earthquake, Haiti has turned a corner and Plan is shifting the focus of its work to long-term development. “The road to recovery will be a long one but Plan is here for the long haul. We must ensure the country is not forgotten and we will do all possible to continue to help the people of Haiti recover and rebuild,”explains Chief Executive Officer of Plan International, Nigel Chapman.

During the past three years Plan has helped more than 31,000 children return to school; built 257 classrooms which are earthquake and hurricane-resistant; provided psychosocial support to more than 12,000 children, provided cash-for-work for more than 36,000 people; provided houses for 100 women with young children, who lost their husbands in the earthquake; and reached more than 400,000 people in our emergency cholera response work.

Against the odds

John Chaloner, Country Director of Plan Haiti, describes the work having been achieved “against the odds”. The earthquake killed more than 300,000 people and was followed by political unrest, storms, floods and a major cholera epidemic. In 2012 the hurricane season was especially challenging for the Haitian people. Tropical Storm Isaac tore through the country in August, killing more than 20 people and causing widespread destruction. As well as providing emergency kits to families in temporary shelters in the South East, national TV broadcast Plan messages on the importance of protecting children in disasters. We worked in close collaboration with national and local authorities, as well as UN and international aid agencies.

In October Hurricane Sandy left more people dead and others injured. Floods devastated communities overnight, hitting the farming sector – already damaged by Isaac. The extent of crop destruction raised fears of malnutrition. We will respond to any such emergencies alongside our long-term development work.

On the third anniversary, the impact of the earthquake is far from disappearing with some people still living in camps and rubble yet to be cleared, but the emphasis of our efforts can now be to prioritise the areas which will allow Haiti – the poorest country in the western hemisphere before the quake – to recover stronger and rebuild sustainably. Our work will now focus on equal education for all, full participation for girls in society, birth registration for every baby, and health education to combat cholera and other common diseases. Other pressing issues remain for the country such as the reconstruction of government buildings and access to land for Haitians to rebuild their homes.

Find out more about our work in Haiti and our response efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

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