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On the anniversary of the deadly earthquake that destroyed thousands of livelihoods, UNHCR looks back on relief efforts since the powerful natural disaster hit and looks ahead to continuing support efforts towards the humanitarian response in Haiti.
By Andrea Mucino-Sanchez | 16 August 2022 | Español
Core Relief Items being distributed © Haitian Red Cross
Just over a year ago, in the early hours of August 14th, 2021, a powerful and deadly earthquake struck Haiti. In a matter of minutes, the natural disaster left thousands in need of emergency humanitarian assistance, with more than 2,200 individuals killed, over an additional 12,000 people injured, and thousands of homes, lives, and livelihoods destroyed.
Individuals in the Southern Departments of Haiti receiving core relief items © Haitian Red Cross
Since last August, UNHCR has continued in its role of supporting the government’s efforts to reduce statelessness, supporting the management of a small number of asylum cases in Haiti, and monitoring general developments with regard to international protection and refugee law.
Distribution of core relief items assisted an estimated 25,000 people © Haitian Red Cross
In the immediate aftermath of the August 14th earthquake, UNHCR worked to deliver core relief items and shelter materials as part of the coordinated humanitarian response with the government of Haiti and partners. Our response focused on identifying the most urgent, vulnerable cases in need of protection and specific support, delivering emergency relief items that would help cover basic needs, and providing materials to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent other health risks as much as possible. UNHCR’s response arrived in three shipments; two of which were distributed in collaboration with the Haitian Red Cross, and one with the International Organization of Migration (IOM).
Core relief items assisted 3,600 families in Haiti © UNHCR/Junior Remy Mauvais
Together with the Haitian Red Cross, our first shipment of 12 containers filled with relief items was delivered and distributed to impacted areas. These items included soap, refugee housing units, blankets, buckets, solar lamps, and mosquito nets, and assisted an estimated 25,000 individuals with specific protection needs.
In the second shipment, UNHCR delivered additional kits comprised of wool blankets, hygiene products, and other items that were distributed to seven remote communes in the Sud, Nippes, and Grande-Anse departments. These items assisted 3,600 families, including those with young children, victims of gender-based violence, and people with disabilities whose houses were destroyed or heavily damaged by the earthquake.
UNHCR distributed kits in remote communes of southern Haiti © IOM Haiti
In late 2021, UNHCR, in collaboration with IOM, delivered half of the third shipment of core relief items. The remainder was recently delivered in June of 2022. These items were distributed to remote areas of the southern affected departments and included 5,800 plastic tarpaulins, 5,440 solar lamps, and 570 family tents.
Together with the Haitian Red Cross, UNHCR delivered 12 containers filled with core relief items © Haitian Red Cross
In addition to the thousands of homes destroyed, many of the Civil Registry offices were also damaged by the earthquake. UNHCR, together with the government of Haiti, has started a project to refurbish some of these offices to expand the capacity to help those who lost their registration, identity, and other important documents during the earthquake.
UNHCR remains committed to being part of the coordinated humanitarian response in Haiti. © Haitian Red Cross
As the ongoing effects of the earthquake still linger a year later, UNHCR remains committed to being part of the coordinated humanitarian response in Haiti. We reiterate our readiness to work with the government of Haiti to provide support as may be required.
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