One month after the earthquake in Haiti: 260,000 children still need humanitarian aid

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

“Children in Haiti continue to struggle to cope with the aftermath of an earthquake that caused the collapse of their homes, schools, health facilities and entire communities,” said Jean Gough, regional director of the UNICEF for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Health services remain largely disrupted in southwestern Haiti. Many hospital buildings are damaged or destroyed. Many families with children fear seeking treatment in the few health facilities still standing. Limited access to clean water and basic health services puts young people’s lives at risk.

Health systems are struggling to meet needs, with 12,000 people injured and around 82 health facilities in the most affected departments damaged or destroyed. Even a month later, some rural communities remain unable to access functioning health facilities due to infrastructure damage. Limited health care capacity poses high health risks, such as wound infection and the risk of tetanus.

The lack of routine health care services has increased the risk of maternal and newborn deaths, as many maternity hospitals and surgical rooms do not meet the criteria for safe delivery. The capacity of health authorities to prevent, identify and treat malnutrition was also weakened by the earthquake.

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

UNICEF has equipped 24 mobile clinic teams with essential medical equipment and drugs to provide integrated health and nutrition services – including the 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 vital health services so that we can prevent child deaths,” said Gough. “UNICEF is setting up more mobile clinics in the field to keep children healthy. With thousands of families and children in urgent need of medical care, we cannot wait for health facilities to be rebuilt. “

The other key health outcomes to date are as follows:

  • 50,000 people received essential medical supplies over a three-month period in 19 main hospitals involved in emergency care for the victims.
  • 300,000 people received Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for a period of three months.

In the area of ​​child and maternal health, UNICEF gives priority to the continuation of primary health care for children and women, in close coordination with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO ). Over the next six months, UNICEF will support the delivery 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 that will be scaled up include extending routine immunization coverage to 35,000 children, identifying and treating acutely malnourished children, infant and child feeding support programs. young child and nutritional supplementation to prevent malnutrition and the provision of maternal and newborn care. and childcare.

UNICEF will also support the reconstruction and repair of 30 damaged hospitals and primary health care centers, as well as the training of 3,000 health facility staff and community health workers in infection prevention and control (IPC ), including the continued prevention of COVID-19 and the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE).

UNICEF requests $ 73.3 million to respond to humanitarian needs due to the earthquake, focusing on providing urgent support in the areas of health, education, WASH, nutrition and child protection, including gender-based violence (GBV), over the next six months. To date, less than 11 percent has been received.

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Note to editors:

Other key UNICEF results and responses include:

  • Reach more than 250,000 people affected with 1,972,386 liters of drinking water thanks to the tanker truck.
  • 5,598 hygiene kits were distributed to cover 28,000 people, including 2,300 prepositioned 41 tarpaulin rolls, 15 bladders and chlorine. Additional supplies are on the way including 3 water treatment units, 41 bladders, tarpaulins and 31,200 hygiene kits which cover 156,000 additional people for 3 months.
  • Installation of 11 treatment plants and 51 bladders, with a total volume of 415,000 liters, as well as the supply of fuel for transporting water by truck.
  • 70 blocks of removable and reusable latrines and hand washing facilities.
  • Distribution of tarpaulins and water purifiers in 10 children’s homes / orphanages with around 340 children.
  • Psychosocial support activities are underway with 178 children (96 girls and 82 boys) in the recreational areas of Les Cayes and 133 people have been made aware of the risks of child exploitation and trafficking.
  • Ensure that more than 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 over the next 6 months.
  • Set up 900 secure semi-permanent learning spaces (classrooms) and rehabilitate 400 partially destroyed classrooms to guarantee 100,000 children access to quality education and early learning.
  • Provide emergency cash transfers to help up to 20,000 of the most vulnerable families with children and / or pregnant women access essential services and non-food items.
  • Training of at least 450 U-Reporters from the Sud, Grand’Anse and Nippes departments in Protection against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA), Gender-based violence, and hygiene in emergency situations and mental health management.
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