World Vision Report: Haiti's Future Still Unclear

World Vision, one of the most well-known international humanitarian organizations, recently released its one year report on the situation in Haiti which was devastated by an earthquake in January.

One year on, it is still unclear what the future holds for the Caribbean country, said Kevin J. Jenkins, president and CEO of World Vision.

But Jenkins made it clear in the report that the country cannot return to what it was before the Jan. 12 quake. Even before the devastation, Haiti was suffering in countless ways with water, sanitation, health, nutrition, education and income issues.

Haiti is the poorest economy in the Western hemisphere with 86 percent of the population in rural communities living on less than $2 a day. Around 40 percent of households cannot access basic nutritional needs or safe water and 81 percent lack access to adequate sanitation.

Amid an already despairing situation, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake shook the island country and exacerbated problems. More than 222,000 people were killed and more than one million people were left homeless.

One-third of households lost their entire food supply and 60 percent of government, administrative and economic infrastructure in Port-au-Prince was destroyed.

World Vision responded to the devastation immediately. Over the last year, the organization raised $194 million and has provided aid to 350,448 people. More than 180 feeding centers provided food to 49,200 children not in school and the more than 70,000 children in school benefited from school feeding programs.

World Vision has also provided "Child-Friendly Spaces" for more than 5,000 children who have been able to play, sing, learn and receive psychosocial support despite the bleak surroundings. Moreover, five fixed clinics and four mobile ones currently serve 11 camps in Port-au-Prince.

Assessing the current situation, nearly one year later, World Vision says children under 5 remain susceptible to developing short- and long-term illnesses; and the socio-economic situation remains fragile, with more than one million people still displaced.

Cholera has also recently spread across the country. As of mid-December, the disease has claimed more than 2,100 people lives and left some 47,000 persons hospitalized. World Vision has responded by increasing clean water distribution and hand-washing stations. It plans to operate oral rehydration centers and cholera treatment units as well.

Along with meeting needs on the ground, the organization has advocated for policy changes that would benefit the most vulnerable, particularly children. It has been in direct communication with the government of Haiti in pressing for changes and accountability.

As it looks to the future, World Vision acknowledges that many challenges lie ahead in the reconstruction and transformation of Haiti. The relief phase, it says, is still far from over.

The organization has, however, made a five-year commitment to aid the country. Prior to the earthquake, it was already assisting Haitians for three decades. Its core goal in Haiti is to help develop safe and sustainable communities, in collaboration with partner agencies, the government and local authorities.

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