Coming Together for Haiti
January 11, 2013 BY Sarah Wade
On January 12, 2010, a massive earthquake struck Haiti, killing more than 300,000 people and leaving more than one million homeless. With support from millions of individuals around the world, a host of institutions and organizations — the UN and the UN Foundation among them — reached out to help the Haitian government with the difficult process of recovering and rebuilding. That recovery process was the subject of a press teleconference held in advance of the earthquake's third anniversary.
"Despite huge challenges, there has been tremendous progress over the past 12 months," said Eileen Wickstrom-Smith, Deputy Coordinator for Assistance in the Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator at the U.S. Department of State. While each speaker in the teleconference shed light on different aspects of Haiti's recovery process — from rubble removal to cholera prevention to political stabilization — all of them agreed that the reconstruction efforts are having a measurable impact.
"[For] three years … we’ve been doing mostly humanitarian work [and] most of our peacekeepers have been helping basically rebuild the country," said Andre-Michel Essoungou, Public Affairs Officer at the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). "We now are at the point that we think we will be able to contribute better on the political side and the security side."
Wickstrom-Smith and Essoungou were joined by Jessica Faieta, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director at the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, UN Development Programme (UNDP), and Dr. Jean Luc Poncelet, Area Manager for Emergency Relief and Disaster Preparedness at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
For a full audio recording of the teleconference, visit the UN Foundation's Haiti earthquake response page.
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