Summary: 11 January 2013, Brussels - Three years after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, taking more than 200,000 lives and making 1.5 million people homeless, the EU continues to help the struggling country with an additional €30.5 million in humanitarian funding.
The passage of tropical storm Isaac and hurricane Sandy across the region last year illustrated the continuing needs of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people. Many of them are still living in camps but are slowly returning to permanent homes. Access to clean water, primary health care, improving sanitation and promoting hygiene all remain as issues. A key area of humanitarian work inHaitiis the continuing response to the cholera epidemic and preventing its spread.
"The EU remains committed to helping Haitians in need and the country with its reconstruction," said Kristalina Georgieva, the EU's Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. "It is important to stress that major achievements have been made so far in the earthquake response. The number of displaced people living in camps has decreased from 1.5 million at the peak of the crisis to less than 350.000 at the end of 2012. The cholera outbreak has been largely contained. However, we need to continue with our efforts to give Haiti a chance to rebuild itself as a country much stronger than before the earthquake." Commissioner Georgieva will be visitingHaiti this weekend.
"As Haiti is extremely prone to natural disasters, resilience is at the heart of our response," she added. "Several communities, as well as local and national authorities have been supported in improving their disaster preparedness and response capacities." The EU supports projects based on awareness-raising campaigns in schools and the creation of local emergency-alert groups, which contribute to making communities and key institutions more resilient to future disasters.
Since the earthquake struck in 2010, €213 million in EU humanitarian aid has been mobilised forHaiti- including an additional €30.5 million, which we are announcing today. This new money will mainly help those still homeless as a result of the earthquake, cholera victims and those badly affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Haiti is the largest beneficiary of the European Commission's humanitarian aid in Latin America and the Caribbean, with more than €260 million in humanitarian aid since 1995.
In 2010, the Commission allocated €122 million, of which €100 million was used to respond to the humanitarian needs caused by the earthquake. These funds helped to provide shelter, safe drinking water, food and essentials such as blankets, kitchen utensils and hygiene products to about 5 million people. The remaining €22 million went towards addressing the cholera epidemic in the form of treatment facilities, improved water and sanitation and the promotion of hygiene activities, benefitting around three million people. Other EU institutions were involved in the relief efforts. Twenty five European countries provided help through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
In 2011 €38.5 million was granted to assist 5 million people. The Commission's humanitarian aid assists people not only still living in camps and staying in tents but also in areas of the country that were not directly affected by the earthquake and where significant numbers of displaced people sought refuge in the aftermath of the disaster. The EU's humanitarian strategy was focused on three pillars: earthquake and cholera response (€26 million); under-nutrition and obstetric care (€7 million); and disaster risk reduction (€5.5 million), this last in particular is a high priority for the EU inHaitiand is mainstreamed in all EU-funded actions.
In 2012, ECHO allocated €34.25 million toHaiti. Its assistance focused on addressing displacement, responding to cholera - a disease that is now endemic - responding to disasters such as tropical storm Isaac and Hurricane Sandy, and reducing the risk of disasters. In 2011-2012 ECHO's Disaster Preparedness program (DIPECHO) carried out disaster preparedness activities benefitting 1.3 million people in the country, and helping the Haitian civil protection services to better prepare for emergencies.
For more information
DG Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection website:
Commissioner Georgieva's website: