Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Haiti 'requires long-term help'

A year after Haiti was devastated by an earthquake, aid workers report the need to step up help
A year after Haiti was devastated by an earthquake, aid workers report the need to step up help

A year after Haiti was devastated by an earthquake, aid workers report the need to step up long-term rebuilding efforts as they continue to combat disease and poverty.

Some 220,000 people died as a result of the quake that struck on January 12, 2010 with an estimated 1.5 million left homeless as homes crumbled in the tremors.

Responders on the ground have faced numerous setbacks in the months since, with endemic poverty and an outbreak of cholera just two factors holding back recovery.

But a year on from the disaster aid workers hold out the hope that the battle against the disease is finally being won.

They said that efforts in 2011 must increasingly turn towards long-term reconstruction as well as short-term relief.

Andy Powell is one of the people tasked with helping rebuild the Caribbean island.

As Save the Children's safer construction programme manager, the 32-year-old Briton oversees a number of projects giving Haitians better access to schools, medical facilities and shelters.

Having arrived in the country in May last year, he has seen first hand the devastation caused by the earthquake and subsequent waterborne disease.

The nature of the challenge has changed as the year has progressed. Speaking from his base in Jacmel in southern Haiti, Mr Powell said at first the main concern was delivering aid and food to survivors.

Haiti's recent history is scared by violence and poverty and administering aid in such conditions led to angry scenes at some collection points.

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