UK public help 1.2 million people in Haiti

12/07/2010

Nearly six months after 12 January’s devastating earthquake in Haiti the Disasters Emergency Committee has announced that it has raised £101m and that this money has so far funded emergency assistance to 1.2m people.

DEC Member Agencies have played a major role in meeting the most urgent needs of survivors but helping provide jobs, decent places to live and better public services remains an enormous challenge.

Over £30m has been spent already with the largest share of the money paying for water and sanitation (28%), emergency shelter (22%), livelihoods support (16%) and household items including soap, mosquito nets and water containers (14%).

The earthquake was so devastating largely because it hit Haiti’s desperately poor capital, Port-au-Prince, where 86% of people were living in poorly-constructed and tightly packed slums. Even before the earthquake only half of the people in Port-au-Prince had access to latrines and only one-third had access to clean tap water.

DEC Chief Executive Brendan Gormley said:

“In 35 years of humanitarian work I have never seen such a challenge confronting survivors of a natural disaster and the DEC agencies which are trying to help them.

“Shockingly, our provision of emergency latrines and clean water means that many people now have better water and sanitation services than before the quake. One measure of our achievement is that there has been no major outbreak of potentially deadly diseases such measles, cholera or diarrhoea.

“Providing decent shelter in a city choked with millions of tons of rubble is proving enormously difficult. People will need jobs to pay rent on properties that have yet to be repaired or rebuilt, at sites that have yet to be cleared, where the ownership of every scrap of land is likely to be hotly disputed.

“It is clear that we are only at the beginning of what will be a long and painful journey but that I know DEC member agencies are committed to do whatever is necessary to support the people of Haiti.”

Aid already paid for with DEC funds includes:

  • clean drinking water for over 250,000 people
  • emergency shelter for over 100,000 people
  • the building 3,000 latrines
  • over 2,500 ‘cash for work’ public service projects
  • medical consultations for over 100,000 people
  • supplementary feeding for 1,890 malnourished children

DEC funds will be spent over three years in total, rather than the usual two, but many Member Agencies will stay on well beyond that period using funding from other sources.

The members of the DEC and other NGOs will play a significant role in rebuilding Haiti but leadership must come from the Haitian government. Much of most urgently needed money from international government’s should be provided through the $US1.5 billion UN Flash Appeal but this remains only 60.4% funded.

A series of short videos showing what our members have achieved and the challenge still facing them and the people of Haiti are being uploaded to our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/DECcharity

To stay up to date with the emergency response in Haiti follow the DEC on twitter at http://twitter.com/decappeal or become a fan of ‘Disasters-Emergency-Committee-DEC’ on Facebook.

Notes to editors

  • The DEC Haiti Appeal will close at the end of July 2010 but donations can be made until then at www.dec.org.uk.
  • The DEC consists of: Action Aid, Age UK, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, World Vision.