PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Jan. 27, 2010) — Two weeks after a devastating magnitude-7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti, the global humanitarian organization Save the Children has reached more than 105,000 children and adults, providing lifesaving food, medicines and supplies. In addition, the organization is working to protect vulnerable children, providing spaces to play and helping trace unaccompanied children and reunite them with their families.
"It took less than 40 seconds for lives of tens of thousands of Haitian children to change completely. They lost friends, family and teachers, saw their homes and neighborhoods destroyed, and watched their family's livelihood disappear in this devastating quake," said Lee Nelson, Save the Children's country director in Haiti.
"Save the Children is rushing to meet the immediate lifesaving needs of these children and their families by distributing food, water, hygiene and household supplies, and by erecting latrines and bathing facilities. And, given the enormity of this disaster, we will be assisting Haitian families with their recovery for months and years to come."
Save the Children staff in Port-au-Prince, Léogâne and Jacmel are ramping up efforts to meet the health, protection and educational needs of thousands of children displaced from their homes and living in makeshift camps. It is distributing hygiene kits, household kits, plastic sheeting, blankets, food and water. Save the Children's water and sanitation programs are providing clean water, latrines and bathing facilities for 2,200 people in the encampments at Lakou Issa and Theatre National camps in Port-au-Prince. The agency has distributed 2-week rations of food to 600 families in Léogâne, where it also provided blankets, plastic sheeting and cans of water. And two mobile clinics are treating the sick and injured in Jacmel and Léogâne.
More than 8,000 children have participated in activities at 16 Child Friendly Spaces, which are special protected areas established by Save the Children in Jacmel and Port-au-Prince. 25 additional staff members have been trained to help run three more spaces. Save the Children plans to open 150 safe spaces over the next coming weeks
"Despite the challenges presented by the scale of this disaster and its impact on the capital city, we are reaching more children and families every day," said Annie Foster, Save the Children's team leader in Haiti.
"The Haitian people are very resilient and communities are supporting each other, but they cannot do it alone. Save the Children is focusing its efforts across a variety of critical areas — food, clean water, health, protection and education — and working in partnership with local communities, the government and other agencies. New supply trucks and planes are arriving with increasing regularity. As logistical challenges decrease, we will work together to provide both immediate assistance and ongoing support so that Haiti can recover and rebuild."
Save the Children has worked in Haiti since 1978 and currently has about 250 staff in the country. All staff has been accounted for, with one staff member reported to have died in the earthquake.