On 14 August 2021, the southwest region of Haiti was hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake which led to widespread death and destruction. Some 2,200 people died, over 12,500 were injured and up to 800,000 people directly impacted. On Wednesday, six months on from the disaster, the Haitian government held an international pledging conference, in the hope of raising the $2 billion needed for reconstruction.
The international event is all about showing solidarity with Haiti and there have been messages of support from all over the world including Mali, Cuba and Canada as well as the European Union and Japan. In these pandemic times, many have connected remotely online.
Of course, the event is also about raising funds to match all the needs outlined in the PDNA (see earlier). Many of the countries or organizations pledging today had already indicated their financial commitment before the event started, but some are announcing new contributions.
Some of the financing will end up in the Multi-Partner Trust Fund which is administered by the UN and the Haitian government, and which ensures that funds are distributed to the sectors most in need.
A welcome announcement also came from The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, calling on the international community to support Haiti’s post-earthquake reconstruction and recovery efforts. The statement was released during the International Conference for the Financing of Reconstruction of the Southern Peninsula of Haiti, also held on Wednesday.
The goal is to raise $2 billion, although it’s not expected that amount will be raised today, but more should follow. But with more than 25 per cent or over $500 million already pledged Haiti is already on the path to reconstruction and recovery.
The $2 billion that Haiti needs for reconstruction and recovery touches just about every part of daily life.
More than half, that’s over $1 billion, will be needed to rebuild, repair or reinforce 137,585 houses.
The next most costly intervention is Health and education needs at around $400 million and health sector will around $40 million. Food security measures have been costed at almost $55 million.
Rehabilitating and building an improved transport infrastructure has a $142 million price tag.
The international conference is important. It will help to mobilize the gaps in financial resources to meet the need of 650,000 people in needs of humanitarian assistance in the Southern Peninsula.#Haiti #earthquake
@uniceflac @UNICEF @UNHaiti pic.twitter.com/CsyaM3lYZp
6 months after a devastating earthquake, #Haiti estimates $2 billion is needed for long-term recovery and reconstruction of the country.
Read: https://t.co/oaU5vE5rB8 pic.twitter.com/LGGDzvIZQw
The Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, told the event that the reconstruction and recovery effort would include all people. “Not all communities in the Southern Peninsula were affected in the same way. Some suffered more damage and losses than others. However, the recovery plan includes all regions that were directly and indirectly affected.
And he added that Haiti had to focus on “resilient recovery in the face of multiple and complex hazards by adding innovative approaches based on an inclusive and coordinated process.”
The Government was quick to act after the disaster, and within six weeks had produced a post-disaster needs assessment known as the PDNA, the plan which is priced at $2 billion.
The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, visited Haiti just days after the August earthquake and she has come back six months later to lend her voice to the reconstruction efforts, saying “the people of Haiti must always come first.”
She paid tribute to their resilience saying that “time and time again, they mourn their losses, and then they pick themselves up and put their lives back together.”
She also recognized that leading role that the government had played in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake saying that “in partnership with communities and international stakeholders, emergency relief was provided to 600,000 people in need.”
And she added that “as the response unfolded, the Haitian Government took important steps towards recovery and reconstruction.”
Read our full story on Ms. Mohammed’s speech here.
The Great South needs nearly $2 billion to rebuild. Haiti needs to mobilize US$1.6 billion to cover 82% of recovery needs. Follow live the conference 👉📺: https://t.co/RAh4dc10qd#Haiti #Ayiti #relevement #reconstruction pic.twitter.com/qyGk7ipHkc
Many more people died in the 2010 earthquake than the 2021 disaster, largely because it struck urban rather than rural communities which were affected in 2021.
However, the casualty rate was very high also because Haiti was simply not prepared for such a devastating natural catastrophe.
In fact, one government official called the response chaotic. With better preparation, many lives could have been saved.
Important lessons were learned from 2010, one of which was the importance of rapidly producing a Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA).
The response to the August earthquake has been far more effective with the Haitian government in the lead.
They decided what the priorities were, and directed the international community to provide the appropriate support, unlike in 2010.
Just six weeks after the 2021 earthquake, the government had produced its Post Disaster Needs Assessment or PDNA as it’s called.
Reconstruction and recovery has been costed at around $2 billion dollars.
A huge humanitarian relief effort led by the Haitian government was mounted in the immediate aftermath of the August disaster and UN agencies were heavily involved.
Both UNICEF and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA ) supported mothers after the maternity wing in a local hospital was razed to the ground.
And the World Food Programme provided meals to school children, many of whom came from farming families who had lost their land or food and seed stories.
The August earthquake struck in a mainly rural region. It left 2,300 people dead and almost 13,000 were injured.
A huge amount of damage was also done to infrastructure, including homes, hospitals, schools and roads. You can read more about what happened here.
It’s not the first time Haiti has suffered from a catastrophic earthquake. In 2010 some 220,000 people reportedly died in a quake whose epicentre was close to Port-au-Prince.
The loss of crops, livestock, and fishing gear, as well as transportation difficulties, have resulted in an increase in food prices in the Great South. 754,000 people are food insecure after earthquake. Recovery needs are estimated at US$ 54 million to address food insecurity pic.twitter.com/ZDpnOWpQPB
The earthquake in the Nippes, Grand'Anse, and South affected 115,000 homes, almost 40,000 of which were destroyed or very seriously damaged. To ensure the rehabilitation of housing for the population of the southern peninsula, the recovery needs are estimated at US$ 1 billion. pic.twitter.com/7MjTxmUF5b
It’s been a very tough 12 months for Haiti; an economic crisis, the assassination of the head of state, rising insecurity and the increased threat of kidnapping by gangs, and not to forget the ongoing threat of COVID-19, complicated an already challenging humanitarian situation in what is the poorest and least developed nation in the western hemisphere.
And then on 21 August last year, a deadly 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the south-west of the country causing may deaths and widespread destruction. More of that later.
Today in the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince, the Haitian government is bringing together international donors to support the reconstruction and recovery across the affected region and to ensure that the country is better prepared for any future natural disasters.
The meeting has just got under way, and we’ll be live blogging the event…you can follow it live here on UN Web TV.
Six months after a devastating earthquake in south-west Haiti which caused the deaths of 2,200 people and injured 12,700 more, the international community is coming together with the Government of Haiti to raise up to $2 billion for the long-term recovery and reconstruction of the country. UN News explains why support is needed.