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A month after the Haiti earthquake: 260,000 children still need humanitarian assistance

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PORT-AU-PRINCE/PANAMA CITY, 14 September 2021 – One month after the 7.2-magnitude earthquake southwest of Haiti, an estimated 650,000 people, including 260,000 children, still need assistance, UNICEF warned today. Urgent humanity.

“Children in Haiti are still struggling to cope with the effects of the earthquake, which has brought down their homes, schools, health facilities and entire communities,” said Jean Goff, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Health services remain largely disrupted in southwestern Haiti. Many hospital buildings are either damaged or destroyed. Many families with children are afraid to seek treatment at the few remaining health facilities. Limited access to safe water and basic health services puts the lives of young people at risk.”

Health systems are struggling to keep up with needs, with 12,000 people infected and an estimated 82 health facilities damaged or destroyed in the worst affected areas. Even after a month, some rural communities are still unable to reach functioning health facilities due to damage to infrastructure. Limited healthcare capacity presents elevated health risks – such as wound infections and the risk of tetanus.

The lack of routine health care services has increased the risks of maternal and newborn deaths, as many maternity and surgical wards do not meet the standards for safe deliveries. The earthquake also weakened the health authorities’ ability to prevent, identify and treat malnutrition.

In response to these growing needs, UNICEF is working with partners to provide essential medicines, medical supplies and equipment and food commodities, support the resumption of health care services to damaged or destroyed health centers, and strengthen health supply chain management.

UNICEF has equipped 24 mobile clinic teams with medical equipment and essential medicines to provide integrated health and nutrition services – including identification and treatment of acute malnutrition – in remote communities.

“If families with children cannot access health facilities after the earthquake, it is essential to provide them with life-saving health services so that we can prevent child deaths,” Goff said. “UNICEF is setting up more mobile clinics on the ground to keep children healthy. With thousands of families and children in dire need of medical care, we cannot wait for health facilities to be rebuilt.”

Other key health outcomes to date include:

50,000 people were reached with essential medical supplies for three months in 19 major hospitals involved in emergency care for victims. 300,000 people received personal protective equipment (PPE) for three months.

In the field of infant and maternal health, UNICEF prioritizes the continuation of primary health care for children and women, in close coordination with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization. Over the next six months, UNICEF will support the provision of essential health and nutrition services targeting more than 251,000 children and women, including the delivery of essential supplies to treat common childhood illnesses.

Other health interventions to be scaled up include expanding routine immunization coverage for 35,000 children, identifying and treating severely malnourished children, programs to support infant and young child feeding and nutritional supplementation to prevent malnutrition and to provide maternal, newborn and child care.

UNICEF will also support the reconstruction and compensation of 30 damaged hospitals and primary care centers, as well as training of 3,000 health care facility staff and community health workers in infection prevention and control, including ongoing prevention and treatment of the novel coronavirus. Provide personal protective equipment (PPE).

UNICEF is requesting US$73.3 million to respond to humanitarian needs due to the earthquake, with a focus on providing urgent support in health, education, water and sanitation, nutrition and child protection, including gender-based violence, over the next six months. So far, less than 11 percent have been received.

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Note to editors:

Other key UNICEF findings and response include:

Reaching more than 250,000 affected people with 1,972,386 liters of potable water through water trucking. 5,598 hygiene kits were distributed to cover 28,000 people, including 2,300 pre-positioned 41 tarpaulins, 15 vials and chlorine. Additional supplies are on the way including 3 water treatment units, 41 baggies, tarpaulins, and 31,200 hygiene kits covering an additional 156,000 people for 3 months. Installing 11 water treatment plants and 51 swarms with a total volume of 415 thousand liters, in addition to providing fuel for trucking water. 70 blocks of removable and reusable toilets and hand washing facilities. Distribution of tarpaulins and water purifiers in 10 children’s homes/orphanages hosting approximately 340 children. Psychosocial support activities continue with 178 children (96 girls and 82 boys) in recreational places in Les Caye and 133 people have been sensitized to the dangers of child exploitation and trafficking. Ensure that over 1.5 million children (girls and boys) and women have access to safe channels to report sexual exploitation and abuse and receive specialized support services in the next six months. Create 900 semi-permanent safe learning spaces (classrooms) and rehabilitate 400 partially destroyed classrooms to ensure 100,000 children have access to quality education and early learning. Provide emergency cash transfers to support up to 20,000 most vulnerable families with children and/or pregnant women to access essential services and non-food items. Trained at least 450 U-Reporters from the South Department, Grand’Anse and Les Nippes in Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA), gender-based violence, emergency hygiene and mental health management.

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