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"So long as Haitians need us, we'll be there": The European Commission allocates further funds for Haiti

Commission Européenne - IP/11/1601   23/12/2011

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European Commission - Press release

"So long as Haitians need us, we'll be there": The European Commission allocates further funds for Haiti

Brussels, 23 December – As the two-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in January 2010 approaches, the European Commission has allocated a further €3 million to the 2011 humanitarian aid budget for the country, bringing the total of humanitarian funding by the European Commission in 2011 to €38.5 million.

Despite significant progress over the last 2 years there remain many challenges to reducing the vulnerability of the population. Hundreds of thousands are still homeless because of the earthquake and the population as a whole is at risk of cholera.

Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union's Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: "So long as Haitians need us we'll be there, and for the moment there remain significant humanitarian needs that the Haitian government cannot handle alone. We must also ensure that there is a successful transition from relief to reconstruction."

This additional funding will focus on the response to the earthquake and the cholera epidemic in Haiti. More than 550,000 people are still living in tented camps nearly two years after the earthquake. Moreover, epidemiologists warned against new waves of cholera at the start of the next rainy season, in April 2012. .

The Commissioner added: "One of our key priorities in 2012 will be the cholera response: cholera is deadly but it is easy to prevent and even easier to treat. But access to clean water and sanitation is vital. We already know that the next rainy season risks bringing new waves of cholera. Now is the time to act." Since the onset of the cholera epidemic European Commission humanitarian aid funding of health, water and sanitation operations have helped approximately 3 million Haitians.

For 2012, the Commission has set aside €15.25 million in humanitarian aid for Haiti.

Background

On January 12th 2010, Haiti was struck by the worst earthquake in its history. The quake's epicentre was less than 50 kilometres from Port-au-Prince. The most densely populated areas, especially in the capital were the hardest hit. Many government facilities and key infrastructures were completely destroyed. Marked by years of weak governance and underdevelopment, Haiti was already the poorest country in the Western hemisphere; post-earthquake humanitarian aid therefore had to be delivered in an environment characterised by numerous logistical, infrastructure, social and political challenges.

Yet, the situation worsened in the aftermath of the disaster: throughout 2010 and 2011, Haiti was affected by political instability, by Hurricane Tomas in November 2010 and a cholera epidemic that started in October 2010.

So far in 2011, not including today's funding decision, the European Commission has allocated €35.5 million to respond to humanitarian needs in Haiti, including € 11 million dedicated to food assistance.

In 2010, the European Commission, through its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (DG ECHO) allocated a total of € 122 million in humanitarian funding for Haiti, including €22 million specifically directed towards the fight against cholera. The €122 million allocated in 2010, was followed up by €35.5 million in 2011. This funding was used on projects aimed at reducing malnutrition rates, prevention and treatment of cholera, clearing debris and reconstruction through cash for work projects, and to support disaster preparedness.

In addition to humanitarian aid, the EU's Monitoring and Information Centre was activated immediately following the earthquake: three civil protection teams including public health experts were deployed to Haiti to coordinate the in-kind assistance of European Union Member States.

For more information

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htm

The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm

Contacts :

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)


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