New shipment of UNICEF humanitarian aid arrives in earthquake-struck Haiti

UNICEF, 25 August 2021

In response to the powerful earthquake that struck Haiti last week, the first UNICEF shipment of 9.7 tonnes of medical and water and hygiene supplies has arrived today in Port Au Prince.  Other flights containing 30 metric tonnes of lifesaving supplies are expected to land in the coming days before being delivered to the southern departments worst hit by the earthquake and tropical storm.

These supplies, which supplement UNICEF prepositioned supplies in the country, will reach 23,350 children and families over a period of three months. Shipped from UNICEF’s global warehouse, these first supplies include medicines, surgical equipment, and nutritional supplements, as well as over half a million masks. The shipment also contains 15 tents to be deployed in areas where health centres were destroyed, to ensure continuity of service. Finally, more than 65,000 water purification tablets, water tanks, and family hygiene kits, including soap and menstrual hygiene materials, were included in the shipment.

“The humanitarian needs of children and families affected by the earthquake and tropical storm have continued to grow in recent days. Hospitals and health personnel are overcrowded, and the medical aid we distributed this week is not sufficient. Children and families who have lost their homes are forced to sleep outside in the rain,” said Bruno Maes, UNICEF’s Representative in Haiti, who is currently in Les Cayes. “This shipment of medical, water and hygiene supplies will be critical to save lives, and more help is on its way. But access to families most in need is still difficult.”

The devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the southwestern region of Haiti has left thousands in need of food, water, sanitation, hygiene and shelter. Over 2,000 people have died, and over 12,000 are injured. UNICEF estimates that 1.2 million people, including 540,000 children are affected. Damage to infrastructure is also significant: 130,000 houses, 94 schools and 1,800 water supply systems were completely or partially destroyed.  

“In the past days, the fierce earthquake has been followed by multiple aftershocks. In the South, some roads are still blocked by landslides and floods caused by Tropical Storm Grace, and some of the worst affected villages remain cut off. Our teams on the ground are doing their best to regain access and reach the remote communities with lifesaving supplies,” added Maes.

Within hours of the earthquake, a UNICEF truck delivered six medical kits to three hospitals in Les Cayes with enough supplies – including gloves, painkillers, antibiotics and syringes – to treat 30,000 earthquake victims over three months.

So far UNICEF has delivered the following supplies to children and families in need:

  • Safe, clean water to 3,000 families in Les Cayes with at least 4 bladders of 10,000 litres each, which will be continuously refilled via water trucking thanks to funding from European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).
  • 2,300 hygiene kits and 15 water tanks.
  • Non-food items such as tarpaulins and essential hygiene kits (soap, sanitary pads, water buckets, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, face masks, etc.) to 1,200 families in Les Cayes, in partnership with the Netherlands Red Cross.
  • Essential medical supplies (orthopedic items, radiography and lab equipment), tents, mattresses, blankets, an ambulance and the deployment of volunteer medical staff.
  • 18 tents for sanitary structures, 50 oxygen cylinders, an electric generator and fuel for the operation of an oxygen generator.

UNICEF estimates that it will need US$15 million to respond to the most urgent needs of at least 385,000 people, including 167,000 children under the age of five, for a period of eight weeks. This initial funding requirement will be reviewed and adjusted in the coming weeks as the impact on children and families becomes clearer.

Original article here.

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