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The Children's Villages in Santo, near Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien are home to children from Haiti who face some of the poorest conditions in the world. SOS Children's Villages has been working here since 1982 and has also provided aid during natural disasters occurring in Haiti … more about our charity work in Haiti

Haiti two years on: The most vulnerable must not be forgotten

Haiti two years on: The most vulnerable must not be forgotten

Today is the two year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. SOS Children, in partnership with other NGOs, are calling on the international community to prioritise the needs of children and families in Haiti.

Over half of the over 220,000 casualties during the earthquake in Haiti on 12 January 2010 were children. Of those who did survive, many have been abandoned by families no longer able to provide for them due to poverty and desperate living conditions. Plan International, SOS Children and World Vision are calling on the European Union (EU) to consider the protection of children and the economic and social support for their families in Haiti a top priority.

Over two million people were affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, and hundreds of thousands were left homeless. Today, over 500,000 people in the country are still living in camps, enduring worsening conditions as donor funding and interest in Haiti’s reconstruction decreases. Families living in the camps are the most vulnerable to new natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods, as well as economic hardship. Children in particular face risks in camps. There are reports of extensive sexual and physical violence towards young girls in makeshift camps. Children and young people are more likely to suffer from malnutrition and violence. They are also vulnerable to trafficking. According to World Vision, over half of the children registered at official border check points last year were travelling in dangerous conditions. Many of these children are at risk of sexual or labour exploitation.

Helmut Kutin, the President of SOS Children International, says: “The conditions are catastrophic: measures to ensure children’s rights are respected should be enforced as soon as possible”. Although the EU has given strong support to Haiti in the past, it must now continue to prioritise Haiti. Reconstruction on the scale of Haiti is a complex and time consuming process, even more so as the country has a long history of permanent political, social and economic crisis. Full social protection for children should be prioritised by the international community. This should include the provision of safe, quality education, economic opportunities for young people, campaigns highlighting child rights, gender-based violence, youth pregnancy and employment rights.
Since the earthquake hit, SOS Children have implemented measures to protect children and young people through the provision of child-friendly spaces, emotional and psychosocial support, reunification of separated children with their families, and child-trafficking prevention. Children in Haiti have received food, medical care and shelter. Nearly two years on from the disaster, we are now focusing on long-term projects to contribute to Haiti’s long-term recovery. As well as building two brand new SOS Children’s Villages, we are investing in education by providing teacher training and refurbishing four state schools. Read more about our work two years on from the earthquake.