Save the Children Urges Robust Support from Donors, Governments and Organizations to Ensure that Haitian Children

Survive and Thrive
International Donors’ Conference Will Determine the Future of Haiti’s Children NEW YORK (March 30, 2010) — Nearly three months after a killer earthquake devastated vast swaths of Haiti, children are increasingly at risk and require sustained assistance and protection. With the advent of the rainy season, the plight of displaced children living in untenable settlements is urgent. The International Donors’ Conference in New York tomorrow presents a critical opportunity for the Haitian and donor governments to prioritize the needs and rights of Haitian children — whose health, well-being, education and future hinge on the meeting’s outcome. Save the Children calls on governments to provide stalwart support to meet Haiti’s immediate and long-term development needs, in cooperation with the Haitian government and a wide variety of partners, including local civil society and children themselves. ―The current needs of quake-affected children and families are enormous and long term. Quick fixes will not suffice, and children cannot be forgotten in the mix. Indeed, children should be kept front and center in Haiti’s reconstruction and development plans,‖ said Charles MacCormack, president and CEO of Save the Children. ―We have a real opportunity to make lasting and positive change in the lives of children. The international community must aspire to not only work with the Haitian government to rebuild, but also to build a better future for Haiti’s youngest citizens.‖ With over 800 staff on the ground in Haiti, Save the Children is committed to working along side these partners to help all Haitians – both in the earthquake zone and across the rest of the country – to shape their new future. The earthquake has exacted a heavy toll on children. They have lost family members, friends, belongings and familiar surroundings. In the midst of debris and displacement, they are more vulnerable to disease, injury, abuse and exploitation. The education system lies in ruins. An estimated 1 million people — half of them children — are homeless. Meanwhile, the disaster’s impact has been felt across all of Haiti. More than 600,000 people have fled the capital, increasing pressure on services in smaller cities and the countryside and depleting resources of already poor families. Early projections suggest the earthquake will cost at least 15 percent of Haiti’s GDP, while the preliminary price of rebuilding is estimated at $11.5 billion. ―Haiti and its children face a long and difficult road to recovery. Donors must commit to fully funding the humanitarian response — where health, shelter, food aid, protection, education and agriculture needs remain woefully underfunded — and to providing substantial support for reconstruction and development,‖ said MacCormack.

―Working with the Haitian government, local communities and organizations, and Haiti’s children, the international community then can focus on assisting survivors and helping them move toward recovery — with a focus on building the capacity and systems of the Haitian government and local civil society. While Haitians cannot do it alone, they must lead and manage their own development,‖ MacCormack continued. Save the Children urges donors, in partnership with the government of Haiti, to: 1. Fully fund the UN humanitarian appeal for $1.45 billion, and commit to robust long-term funding of Haiti’s reconstruction and development. 2. Work urgently to find appropriate spaces for camps for transitional shelters, ensuring safe, voluntary and informed movement of displaced people, and increase support for families to host those displaced. 3. Prioritize care and reunification services for unaccompanied and separated children and improve laws, policies and systems to protect children. 4. Support urgent primary health care and nutrition programs and strengthen the primary health care system at all levels. 5. Resume education for girls and boys as soon as possible and strengthen the education system nationwide. 6. Transition from general food distributions to more targeted approaches for the most vulnerable children and their families and invest in longer-term livelihood and food security. 7. Allocate at least 1 percent of reconstruction and development funding for disaster risk reduction (DRR) initiatives, including child-focused DRR. 8. Build the capacity and systems of the Haitian government and Haitian civil society to lead and manage their own development. 9. Ensure rapid, accountable, transparent, and accessible multidonor funding mechanisms that support reconstruction and development in line with national plans. 10. Cancel all outstanding bilateral and multilateral debt and expand international trade preferences for Haiti. Save the Children, which has been working in Haiti for more than three decades, launched one of its largest humanitarian efforts ever in response to the January 12 earthquake. The organization has provided lifesaving assistance to more than 550,000 quake-affected children and adults. It also is developing a bold and ambitious plan to support Haitians and to build a better future for children at every step. EDITOR’S NOTE: For a copy of Save the Children’s Donor Conference Brief, please visit: www.savethechildren.net