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Haiti recovery effort 'underfunded'

The lives of children in earthquake-struck Haiti are at risk because recovery projects are severely underfunded, a charity has warned.

Around half a million people are still living in makeshift tents and at risk of cholera two years after the quake in January 2010, which killed more than 220,000 people, Save the Children said.

The charity has called for the international community to fulfil its commitments to Haiti and increase long-term funding to the country. It also said it was crucial to scale up efforts to address the continuing cholera crisis, which has killed more than 6,700 people, according to the United Nations.

Gary Shaye, Save the Children's country director in Haiti, said: "While we see signs of change in Haiti, there are still approximately 500,000 people living in makeshift tents.

"Children living in these conditions are extremely vulnerable to events such as hurricanes and outbreaks of diseases. Only six months from the next hurricane season, a long-term solution needs to be found before another emergency occurs."

He added: "Save the Children has raised almost three-quarters of the total needed but with emergency funds drying up for Haiti, our plan for recovery is being placed in jeopardy. The challenge now is to continue the momentum. If we stop now, the gains that have been made for Haitian families could be lost."

Mr Shaye said it was particularly important to help people prepare for future disasters.

Since the earthquake, Save the Children has reached 1.2 million people in Haiti - more than half of them children - offering medical clinics and cholera treatment centres, long-term access to clean water and cash grants for food, the charity said.

Save the Children's work on schools, including the construction of 229 classrooms and the training of more than 1,200 teachers, has enabled 30,000 children to go to school, it added.

John Chaloner, the country director in Haiti for development agency Plan International, said: "If Haiti is to rebuild from this terrible disaster as a self-sustaining, successful country, its young people need strong child protection systems and access to quality healthcare and education. We remain optimistic that can be achieved."


From Belfast Telegraph