On 12 January the world will mark the second anniversary of the earthquake that struck Haiti. The disaster claimed the lives of more than 220 000 people and affected 3 million others. The two years that followed were no less challenging – Haiti was affected by Hurricane Tomas and is suffering from cholera epidemics worse than any other seen over the past century. The years ahead will not be easy either, but the long-term goals of stability and development are still fully relevant to Haiti's recovery.
The European Commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis response Kristalina Georgieva, said: 'Haiti's earthquake caused tremendous suffering - but it also triggered an unmatched support from all over the world. Europe was there on Day One. Less than 24 hours after the earthquake struck, the Commission deployed humanitarian and civil protection experts and mobilised emergency assistance. And we will remain there as long as there are people who need our help.
'Today half a million Haitians still live in camps, and cholera persists. More importantly, we recognise that Haiti will remain vulnerable to natural disasters, like hurricanes, floods and landslides, and are committed to helping the communities we work with to boost their disaster resilience.'
The European Union has been among the first, the most generous and the most efficient donors of aid and civil protection support to Haiti over the past two years. Its assistance aims both at immediate relief to Haitians and long-term recovery of the country. To date, Europeans' solidarity has alleviated the suffering of 5 million people in Haiti, has prevented the crisis from deteriorating further and has limited the disaster's twin side-effects: cholera and malnutrition.
Combining humanitarian assistance with development aid, the EU is the largest donor to the country: it pledged €1.2 billion to assist the Haitian government in all areas over both the short and the long-term. The Commission alone pledged €522 million and has committed more than €358 million.
EU Member States have pledged a total of €201 million in emergency relief, while the European Commission has given €160.5 million in humanitarian aid throughout 2010 and 2011. For 2012 the Commission has set aside €15.25 million in humanitarian aid for Haiti.