By UNICEF Canada via Flickr.com

On 30 April, girls from Marie Auxiliatrice Primary School smile and raise their hands to answer a question in a tent classroom set up on the grounds at another school, in the city of Jacmel. Students from several schools are attending class in UNICEF-supplied tents on the grounds at the host school, in the aftermath of the earthquake. Some 4,700 schools were damaged or destroyed, affecting some 700,000 school-age children. UNICEF assistance includes: clearing rubble from school sites, installing water and sanitation facilities, and providing school-in-a-box kits, recreation kits and other supplies. UNICEF is also supporting the nationwide movement for learning to encourage a return to school and to promote first-time attendance by the estimated 55 per cent of children who have never attended school.

By early May 2010 in Haiti, emergency responses had shifted to long-term recovery efforts in response to the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that hit the country on 12 January. The quakes epicentre was only 17 kilometres from Port-au-Prince, the capital, more than 222,500 people were killed and 1.3 million, of whom 450,000 were children, became homeless. In Port-au-Prince, more than 619,000 people continue to live in makeshift settlements, despite an exodus of over 604,000 from the devastated city. The towns of Léogâne and Jacmel were also heavily damaged; and social infrastructures in rural communities, which now host some of the displaced, are over-strained. In the capital, major government and private infrastructure have been destroyed or heavily damaged, including hospitals, water, sanitation and electrical systems, and telecommunications, banks and transportation networks. UNICEF is working with the Government, other UN agencies, international and local NGOs and private partners to help rebuild  with special focus on the estimated 46 per cent of Haitis nearly 10 million inhabitants who are under age 18. UNICEF is the lead coordinating agency for nutrition, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and child protection; UNICEF also shares lead coordinating duties on education with Save the Children, and is a key health partner. This latest catastrophe has exacerbated Haitis already critical humanitarian situation. Prior to the quake, more than 78 per cent of the population lived on less than US $2.00 a day. UNICEFs portion of the February 2010 United Nations Haiti Revised Humanitarian Appeal (totalling US $1.44 billion) is US $222.8 million, most of which has been received. But while international donors have pledged some US $5.3 billion to support all aspects of Haitis recovery over the next 18 months, an estimated US $11.5 billion is required to meet projected needs.


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