Haiti's children: a year after the quake

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The Independent US

It is almost a year to the day since a catastrophic earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale jolted Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, killing 230,000 people and wrecking over 330,000 homes.

Nearly 365 days since that fateful 12 January 2010, the dust still has not settled on the wreckage. In those days, government and aid agencies have been working against adversity to rebuild the country piece by piece amid huge political and economic uncertainty.

The streets are a banquet for thieves and rapists as 1.5 million are still homeless, many living in tents with little or no protection from the elements or attackers. Great piles of rubble hinder reconstruction. Cholera has spread in the unsanitary conditions.

Save The Children has been working tirelessly to provide safe spaces and temporary schools for the 400,000 children still living in danger. Their lives have been blighted by the disaster; their homes, schools, friends and relatives lost.

One year on, 380,000 children are still living in squalid camps, leaving them vulnerable to disease and exploitation. It is in one of the most complex disasters to respond to in history, Save the Children says.

Still without proper homes, schools and sanitation, children are in danger of catching cholera and are exposed to crime and abuse. More than 3,000 children are still waiting to be reunited with their loved ones, after being separated from them when the earthquake hit.

Save The Children has given independent.co.uk video records (see below) of their efforts and a selection of photographs from the scene. Looking at them it becomes obvious that while tragedy still holds this country in its fist, some hope is being delivered.

Gary Shaye, Save the Children’s Haiti Country Director said: "Children are still suffering in Haiti and are still struggling to cope emotionally with the number of disasters they’ve faced over the year. It’s going to take years to get them back into a normal life, where they have their own homes, can play safely with friends and have proper schools to go to. It is important to remember that long before 12th January, 2010, Haiti faced tremendous challenges which were exacerbated by the earthquake.”

“In 2010 we were focusing on keeping people alive and making sure they had the basics like, shelter, food and water.”

The children’s charity has already assisted over 270 schools, enabling 45,000 children to access education since the earthquake. But hundreds of children still do not have access to an education.

Click here or on the image to see Save The Children's photographs