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Great strides made in Haiti, but challenges remain for children, says UNICEF Canada president from Port-au-Prince

2015-01-12

Port-au-Prince, HAITI, January 12, 2015—To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the devastating earthquake that killed more than 220,000 people in 2010, UNICEF Canada President and CEO David Morley is in Port-au-Prince visiting projects, talking to children and families and assessing the progress made in Haiti to build a stronger future for its children. Over the last few days David visited health, education and water and sanitation projects, along with one of the remaining camps for internally displaced people. Today he had the following comments:

“Five years ago Canadians and the international community responded with generosity and compassion for the children and families of Haiti devastated by an earthquake that destroyed much of its major city and killed close to a quarter million people in a mere 45 seconds. The response of Canadians and the world has been critical over the last five years in saving lives and helping Haiti get back on its feet.

In the weeks following the deadly earthquake, Prime Minister Harper said we needed to commit to Haiti for the long term and that it’s not an exaggeration to say ten years of hard work awaits the world in Haiti. As we commemorate the fifth anniversary today, we’re only half way there. Port-au-Prince and Haiti have come back to where they were at the time of the earthquake.

In some areas there’s been significant progress—primary education enrollment, child survival and child protection legislation. The huge risk is that momentum will be lost if support for Haiti doesn’t continue. Funds are running low and the children of Haiti must not fall off of the world’s radar. This isn’t what was envisioned when the world rallied to build a stronger Haiti in the aftermath of this deadly earthquake. Continuing challenges remain on many fronts including access to clean water to prevent deadly diseases, drop-out rates that increase as children progress through school and the unchanging high prevalence of HIV. 

Progress in Haiti is the result of the combined efforts of the international community and donors—Canadians included—and the steadfast determination of Haitians themselves and their community leaders to build a better country for Haiti’s children. In recent days I’ve met some of the most incredible, heroic Haitians who need our support to keep the momentum going to build a stronger Haiti. And, as always, meeting children who are incredibly resilient and brave in the face of so much adversity reminds us why Canada and the global community must continue to keep Haiti as a priority.”

MEDIA AVAILABLITY: David Morley is available for interviews today over video Skype, Facetime and telephone. He is fluent in English, Spanish and French.

Resources:

  • PHOTO AND VIDEO
  • For pictures of David Morley visiting projects this weekend, please contact Tiffany Baggetta (details below)

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About UNICEF:

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.