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Half a million people still living in camps in Haiti

Plan Ireland’s report on Haiti two years after earthquake reveals major challenges as other NGOs also note scale of work required for country to recover will need international investment.

Image: Goal Ireland

PLAN IRELAND, A charity dedicated to vulnerable young people, has said that half a million people are still living in dire conditions in temporary camps.

Sixty per cent of Haiti’s population is under the age of 24 – and 40 per cent of the total population is under 15. Plan Ireland has released its report ‘Haiti: Two Years After’ today on the second anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake.

There is some good news in the report:

  • Nearly 1 million people who had been in temporary camps have left them
  • Half of all the rubble created in the earthquake – more than five million cubic metres – has been removed
  • Spending on jobs and livelihoods by various agencies has increased by 30 per cent
  • Plan Ireland vaccinated 120,000 children and helped 138,000 children return to school
  • Ireland has been generous in its help – Plan Ireland’s emergency response fund alone received €950,000 from Irish people over the past two years

One of the more cheering moments came on Day of the Child in Haiti last June when these street children performed a rap for President Michel Martelly and assembled NGOs – and Martelly dropped in on a line or two:


(via PlanHaiti/Youtube.com)

However, the number of post-earthquake challenges is also highlighted by the Plan Ireland report. The spread of cholera, political instability, the squalid living conditions in camps and lack of co-ordination between pre-existing government and agencies trying to work on the ground all served to slow the delivery of recovery.

The priorities for Plan Ireland are based around education, health and child protection and they are also pursuing the issue of gender rights for Haitian girls with the government there. “This includes campaigns targeting education, gender-based violence, youth pregnancy and work rights,” according to the report.

This morning, in a thinkpiece for TheJournal.ie, Concern’s Tom Arnold also visited the challenges in returning people to employment and their homes and noted that there is still a lot of basic work to be achieved. “Nearly half of Haiti’s population has no access to clean water and eight in every 10 don’t have basic sanitation facilities,” he wrote.

The sheer scale of the work required in Haiti is something that needs “massive infrastructural investment” said Derek Butler, GOAL’S country director in Port-au-Prince, today. “Agencies like us can only do so much… This (investment) can only come from the international community.”

He asked:

Where are the governments that vowed so solemnly in the months following the disaster to rebuild the country. Are they going to release the money they pledged, or are they going to admit that they have reneged on promises they made to the Haitian people?

  • For more information on Plan Ireland’s work and child sponsorship schemes, visit their website or call 1800 829 829.
  • GOAL’s current programmes in Haiti are detailed here .
  • To read about Concern’s reaction to the Haiti crisis, see here.
  • Oxfam Ireland is in Haiti – its work can be seen here.
  • Medecins sans Frontieres on the health care system “in disarray” in Haiti
  • Haven focusing on reconstruction projects in Haiti

Column: Haiti is slowly recovering – but criticising aid agencies doesn’t help – Concern>

Boys and girls should care about gender equality – Plan Ireland report>

Column: My Christmas in a Haitian hospital – Medecins sans Frontieres>

Haiti two years on: finding jobs is now the priority – Oxfam>

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