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Caritas providing long term help to rebuild Haiti

Caritas providing long term help to rebuild Haiti

Close to a year after the earthquake, Caritas relief and reconstruction programmes in Haiti are well-established throughout the country.

Caritas will invest more than $217 million in Haiti over a one year period that started in May 2010.

This aid will cover further emergency needs caused for example by hurricanes, floods or the cholera epidemic, such as the distribution of hygiene kits and food aid, but also infrastructure and housing projects, education, livelihoods, water, sanitation, capacity building and health programmes.

The funds are additional to the roughly $14 million that were spent in the first three months after the disaster for emergency relief efforts and first rehabilitation programmes.

As over a million people are still living in camps, shelter remains a major focus of Caritas’ work in Haiti.

Activities such as building and repairing houses, ensuring earthquake-resistant construction norms, training work force in the construction sector and providing building materials to earthquake victims make up almost a third of the budget of the one year rehabilitation programme.

Over 100,000 people will benefit from Caritas’ shelter programmes. Many obstacles had to be overcome in this field over the year . The rubble needed to be cleared, land title had to be resolved, construction sites were planned and permits had to be obtained.

Health, nutrition and food security are further Caritas priorities in Haiti, representing 29% of the current budget and benefitting around 670,000 Haitians.

Caritas has stayed to strengthen the healthcare sector in a long-term perspective. Even before the earthquake, many Haitians did not receive sufficient health care.

Caritas is setting up or supporting clinics and mobile clinics in different regions. Awareness for health care and hygiene issues is raised through campaigns and trainings, especially in camps for displaced people.

Towards the end of the year, additional programmes had to be set up to respond to the outbreak of cholera. Caritas invested in staff and equipment at local health centers and people received water purification tablets and training on how to prevent the spread of the epidemic.

Support in the field of food security is provided through seed and cattle distributions to farmers, reconstruction of irrigations systems and training.

Caritas is also running a wide range of programmes in the fields of education, livelihoods, capacity-building to help Haitians rebuild their lives after the disaster and give them opportunities for the future.

Initiatives include the reconstruction of schools and orphanages, counselling for traumatised children, scholarships, human rights and management trainings, set-up of early warning systems and support for local media.

Caritas Haiti has been working on emergencies, development and social justice for 35 years and is present all over the country through its diocesan offices, staff, parish priest and community volunteers.

Several international Caritas member organizations already had programs running in Haiti before this year’s earthquake.