PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI — The global humanitarian organization Save the Children, in partnership with the World Food Program (WFP), successfully distributed critically needed food supplies over the past two days in Marissant and Tabarre to about 30,000 people. The agency will continue to distribute rice at both sites for the next two weeks, reaching an estimated 285,000 children and adults.
“Our partnership with community leaders at these displaced camps was key in helping us get food aid out over the past two days. We couldn’t have done it without their support,” said Halane Hussein, Save the Children’s Emergency Advisor in Haiti.
He cautioned, “So many children and families have gone now 3 weeks with barely any steady food supply. We’ve met a pregnant mother who has told us that since the earthquake, her children had only been eating a meal a day, without vegetables or meat.”
Assessing Damaged Schools, Teachers and Students Remaining in Earthquake-affected Communities
Glimmers of hope were felt Monday when some schools in the non-affected quake areas opened. And in the most affected areas, Save the Children and partner organizations, including the Ministry of Education, will soon begin a needs assessment in an effort to get exact figures ofn the number of schools that have been destroyed or partially damaged, and to determine the number of teachers and children remaining in the communities.
The total number of teachers and children killed in the quake is unknown, and still others have migrated to rural areas outside of Port au Prince. Some of the least damaged schools in the earthquake-affected zones could restart as early as March 2010, according to the government of Haiti.
“It is so important for schools to get up and running as quickly as possible,” said Hussein. “Before the earthquake, there were already more than 700,000 children out of school. This number is set to increase as many schools have been damaged, and teachers killed or injured.”
Added Hussein, “We have the opportunity now to try to get all of these children back to school, including the most vulnerable children, and address the long-term educational needs of Haitian children.”
Providing for Children’s Critical Health Needs
To address urgent medical issues, Save the Children is responsible for providing health services in 36 camps and locations. About 6,000 patients were treated through Save the Children supported health facilities and by 12 mobile medical teams.
The organization has also established two mobile clinics in Leogane – one of the hardest hit towns – and is expected to set up an additional four mobile health teams in Jacmel, where Save the Children continues with their work to feed malnourished children.
The aid agency is also distributing hygiene and household supplies such as soap, towels, Jerry cans to hold water, and plastic sheeting for shelter.
Save the Children has worked in Haiti since 1978 and currently has more than 200 staff in the country.
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