Today the nation is barely crawling out from the rubble.
Haiti's children, 4 million strong, are the ones that have suffered most. Prior to the quake they were already lacking the basics of life; water, sanitation, healthcare, and education services and protection from disease, exploitation, and unsanitary conditions according to UNICEF. Today there are about 380,000 children still in crowded camps with mere tarps providing shelter part of the more than 1 million people still without a home. This is despite Haiti being one of the top ten UNICEF donor countries.
"Children in particular suffered and continue to suffer enormously because of successive emergencies experienced in 2010, and they have yet to fully enjoy their right to survival, health, education, and protection," said Ms. Francoise Gruloos-Ackermans, UNICEF Haiti Representative.
"Haiti poses huge institutional and systemic issues that predated the earthquake, and that require more than an emergency response to resolve. This places even more emphasis on the need for organizations such as UNICEF to focus on developing and reinforcing structural interventions that will adequately prepare this country and its inhabitants for the future," Gruloos-Ackermans added.
Canadians have been generous with donations to the devastated nation. UNICEF Canada CEO Kim Moran said in a press statement that keeping attention on Haiti is needed to effect more change for the nation. Funding from Canada is being used for long term development to help give the children of Haiti a chance for real opportunities.
Even before the earthquake water, sanitation and hygiene was an issue for Haiti. Only 19 percent of the population had access to basic sanitation in 2006. Today over 800,000 share a little of 11,300 latrines provided by UNICEF. That lack of easily obtainable sanitation played a large part in the current cholera outbreak that is attacking the capital city and surrounding towns. Water is still being trucked in along with 10.9 tons of chlorine and over 45 millions water purification tablets.
Many parents of Haiti's children died in the rubble as a result of the earthquake. More children were separated from their families in the chaos that followed. As a result there are 369 Child-Friendly-Spaces for the close to 95,000 children left alone. This helps prevent gender-based violence and child trafficking.
For some children the earthquake brought their first chance of an education. UNICEF and partners have established schools and other resources so that 720,000 children could resume or in some cases begin their education.
"We have seen results in the past year, but significant gaps remain and much more must be done in collaboration with UN, NGO, private sector, civil society, and government partners to ensure we are delivering on our commitments to children and women, including the commitment to resolve the situation of those still displaced by the earthquake and those in remote rural areas who struggle to meet their daily needs," said Gruloos-Ackermans.
"Haiti's children have a right to grow up with education, nutrition, clean water, and safe sanitation; they have a right to be free from exploitation and disease - and we believe that with support and commitment, the seeds of recovery and development can be planted and these goals can be achieved."
The UNICEF Haiti report can be viewed at www.unicef.ca