Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva is beginning a three-day visit to Haiti on the eve of the third anniversary of the devastating earthquake that hit the country. The European Commission will continue its generous humanitarian support to the most vulnerable Haitians, the Commissioner announced at the start of her visit. This year's humanitarian aid allocation from the Commission is €30.5 million.
The destruction caused by tropical storm Isaac and hurricane Sandy in the region last year underscores the continuing vulnerability of hundreds of thousands of Haitians. Many of them are still living in camps but are slowly returning to permanent homes. Access to clean water, primary health care, improving sanitation and promoting hygiene all remain challenges. A key area of humanitarian work in Haiti is the response to the cholera epidemic and preventing its spread.
"The EU remains committed to helping Haitians in need and the country with its reconstruction," said Commissioner Georgieva. "Major achievements have been made in the response to the earthquake. The number of people living in camps has decreased from 1.5 million at the peak of the crisis to less than 350.000 at the end of 2012. The cholera outbreak has been largely contained. However, we need to continue with our efforts to give Haiti a chance to rebuild itself as a much stronger country than before the earthquake."
"As Haiti is extremely prone to natural disasters, resilience is at the heart of our response," she added. The EU supports projects based on awareness-raising campaigns in schools and the creation of local emergency-alert groups, which contribute to making communities and key institutions more resilient to future disasters.
Since the earthquake struck in 2010, €213 million in EU humanitarian aid has been mobilised for Haiti - including an additional €30.5 million, which has been announced today. This new financial support will mainly help those still homeless as a result of the earthquake, cholera victims and those injured by hurricane Sandy.