Three years ago on Saturday the western hemisphere experienced the worst natural disaster in recent memory when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook the heart of Haiti. Over 200,000 people were killed. A massive humanitarian disaster — and a massive international response ensued.
So where are we after three years? Here are some basic facts and figures of the basic health and welfare of Haiti’s population.
358,000 people are still living in camps.
631,801 Cholera cases
7,844 Cholera deaths
2.1 million people facing severe food insecurity
But…these figures belie some powerful signs of progress that have been made over the past year.
1.5 million were made instantly homeless three years ago. 1.142 million people have since found proper homes, though as noted above 358,000 people still live in camps.
80% of the ten million cubic meters of debris generated by the earthquake have been cleared from the streets.
Overall, the number of people affected by cholera drastically decreased, and the mortality rate dropped to 1.2 per cent from a high of 2.4 per cent in 2011. According to the Ministry
of Public Health and Population (MSPP), as of 17 December 2012, the cumulative number of reported cholera infections stood at 631,801 and deaths at 7,844. The average
monthly infections since the beginning of the year was 150 cases, compared to 200 the previous year.
This graph illustrates the steady decline in number of people living as IDPs in temporary tent cities
Tropical storm Isaac and Hurricane Sandy set back recovery efforts in rural parts of the country, destroying homes, crops, and livelihoods.
One of the sharpest challenges facing Haiti today is declining donor interest in the country. Funds to sustain the humanitarian response and economic recovery are drying up. OCHA, the UN humanitarian bureau, says these gaps are “seriously impacting frontline services for those in need.”
Here are even more facts and figures, from the UN Foundation, which speaks to the magnitude of the international response so far. For some context behind these numbers, listen to this conference call with:
– Andre-Michel Essoungou, Public Affairs Officer, UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO);
-Jessica Faieta, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director, at the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, UN Development Programme (UNDP);
-Dr. Jean Luc Poncelet, Area Manager for Emergency Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO);
-Eileen Wickstrom Smith, Deputy Coordinator for Assistance in the Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator, U.S. Department of State;
-Beth Hogan, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, USAID
I strongly encourage folks to take 30 mins to listen to this call. The numbers tell only part of the story. There is a massive recovery underway, and while progress has not been as fast as we would all like to see Haiti has certainly made impressive gains over the past three years.