In just 35 terrifying seconds, everything came crashing down: homes razed, hospitals and schools destroyed, block after block turned to mangled mountains of rubble and dust. Thirty-five seconds that took 220,000 lives and made more than 1 million people homelessâ€”thirty-five seconds that still resonate today.
Saturday marks the third anniversary of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. Nearly 1.5 million children were directly affected by the disaster. The U.N. estimated that over a billion dollars would be needed for recovery, and the worldâ€™s outpouring of support to UNICEF and other organization was tremendous. We, and the children of Haiti, thank you.
UNICEF, along with countless others, worked hard over the past three years to help the children and families affected by the quake. In some areas, children are better off now than they were before. Here are just some of the improvements that have been made since 2005:
- 77% of children are now attending primary school, up from 50% in 2005.
- Acute malnutrition among children under five has been reduced by half.
- The number of children who are underweight has been reduced by 44%.
- Twice as many people now have access to improved sanitation facilities.
- The immunization rate among children is now at 65%, up from 53%.
But more work remains to be done. UNICEFâ€™s focus in the coming years is on maintaining and growing the progress thatâ€™s been made, reaching children that are the hardest to reach and most vulnerable, and making sure that childrenâ€™s development and well-being remains a top priority for Haiti. With your help, UNICEF and its partners will continue to work relentlessly on behalf of Haitiâ€™s vulnerable children.