The Under-Secretary-General spoke at an international event hosted by the Government of Haiti in the capital, Port-au-Prince, to support reconstruction and recovery efforts following an earthquake that hit mainly rural areas in the country’s southwest last August.
Ms. Mohammed visited the earthquake-affected region immediately after the disaster.
“Now is not the time to give up,” she said, “because the people of Haiti never give up. Again and again they mourn their loss and then pull themselves together and build their lives again,” adding, “Haiti is at a crossroads again. Years of investment in stability and development must be protected. And national institutions are ready to lead.”
More than 2,200 people died and almost 13,000 were injured, and infrastructure suffered extensive damage.
Some 137,000 homes and 1,250 schools were damaged or destroyed, and more than 300,000 students were unable to return to school.
More than 95 hospitals and health centers were also affected, and roads and bridges were damaged, making it difficult to respond to the earthquake.
need 2 billion dollars
The government estimates that it will take about $2 billion to repair the damage caused by the earthquake.
More than half of the funds, just over a billion dollars, will be needed to renovate or renovate mostly private housing, with about $400 million allocated to education. Medical services and food security initiatives require $40 million and $55 million, respectively.
Agriculture, commerce and industry, as well as environmental programs, were also sent to help.
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henri said at the event that all people will be involved in reconstruction and recovery efforts. “Not all communities in the Southern Peninsula have been equally affected.
Some suffered more damage and loss than others. However, the recovery plan includes all regions that were directly or indirectly affected.”
WFP Haiti/Teresa Piorre
Last August’s earthquake came as Haiti faced a political and security crisis, as well as persistent, deep-seated needs for humanitarian and development assistance.
The economy is in dire straits, not helped by a blockade of gasoline supplies by armed gangs in late 2021 that nearly brought the country to a standstill.
Meanwhile, Haiti remains highly exposed and vulnerable to earthquakes, floods and droughts, as well as the wider impacts of climate change. The devastating earthquake in January 2010, which killed an estimated 220,000 people, mostly in the capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, was the most devastating natural disaster to hit the Caribbean nation in recent history.
© WFP/Alexis Masciarelli
Investment needed now
“We must be aware that the lack of adequate and timely investment in reconstruction will inevitably push the most vulnerable populations, who will no longer have the means to sustain their livelihoods, towards negative coping strategies,” said the Deputy UN Chief, adding that “Internal migration is likely to increase, including in Port-au-Prince, which is already facing serious social and economic problems and high levels of violence.”
Outward migration is also likely to increase as Haitians seek opportunities abroad.