LES CAYES, HAITI, 16 August 2022 – One year after a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Haiti, and three weeks before the beginning of a new academic year, more than 250,000 children do not have access to adequate schools, UNICEF warned today.
Reconstruction, which has been delayed by insecurity and lack of funds, is still under way and may take years to complete. Of the 1,250 schools that were destroyed or damaged by the earthquake, the majority still have not been rebuilt.
“Schools are more than places of learning, they are safe havens for children traumatized by a succession of events: the COVID-19 pandemic, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, and pervasive insecurity and poverty,” said Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representative in Haiti. “Far too many children will not have access to adequate educational services in the next school year, or receive adequate healthcare services, drink safe water, or have a fair chance to grow and develop to their full potential.,”
On 14 August 2021, a massive earthquake hit the departments of South, Nippes and Grand’Anse, killing 2,200 people and injuring 12,200 others. 1,250 schools, 97 health facilities and 55 water systems were destroyed or damaged, leaving over 340,000 children without adequate educational conditions and 800,000 people without access to healthcare, drinking water or hygiene services.
Despite a challenging environment and limited funding, UNICEF has rebuilt or rehabilitated 234 classrooms. UNICEF has also provided school kits to 74,000 students. Additionally, almost 100 high performance tents were installed in damaged schools. More than 31,000 students in Grand Anse, Nippes and South were also able to catch up on studies through remedial classes .
UNICEF and partners have worked to bring basic services to affected women and children, yet operations have often been delayed or hampered by lack of resources and gang-related violence.
UNICEF has repaired 22 drinking water systems damaged by the natural disaster, to reach 440,000 people, around half of the targeted populations. 23,000 hygiene kits, including soap, home water treatment products and menstrual hygiene have been distributed to serve 121,000 people.
Over the year, more than 23,700 children have benefited from psychosocial and recreational activities in 75 UNICEF supported child-friendly spaces. At least 1,100 survivors of gender-based violence received psychological and medical care, while 18 separated and unaccompanied children benefited from alternative care services and were reunified with their families.
UNICEF has provided integrated healthcare and nutrition services to 52,000 people including 15,800 children, throughout mobile clinics. In addition, 4,800 children under the age of five have been treated for moderate or severe acute malnutrition.
Efforts are underway to reach an additional 12,300 people with basic health services and 15,000 children suffering from wasting with quality care. UNICEF urgently needs additional funding to accelerate the delivery of its health and nutrition response. So far, only 1.4 per cent of the population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, which is far below the national target.
To support the most vulnerable who were heavily affected by the earthquake, UNICEF also provides additional income to vulnerable families through multipurpose cash transfers, reaching almost 1,000 this year. These funds help families to access to basic services.
UNICEF has also produced 10,000 posters and 60,000 brochures on Protection against sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) to add in the kits distributed to the affected populations. More than 3,000 people received information on PSEA and available feedback mechanisms, while 60 community leaders and 30 trainers were trained to inform their communities in Nippes, Grand’Anse and South. 10 radio stations were contracted to air PSEA spots and programmes for six months and 450 Haitian U-Reporters were trained on PSEA to inform their communities.
At the end of 2021, UNICEF requested US$97 million through the 2022 Humanitarian Appeal for Children to reach 950,000 people, including 520,000 children in Haiti. To date, UNICEF has only received 30 per cent of the funding needed to meet the basic health, education, nutrition and protection of Haitian children. Without US$64.6 million in urgent funding, UNICEF will be unable to aid the most vulnerable in Haiti.
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