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UNICEF Executive Director makes first official visit to post-earthquake Haiti

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Published on Sep 30, 2010

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/h...

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 30 September 2010 -- Jant Garane and her four children have been living in a tiny shack at the Accra camp for displaced people since a massive earthquake devastated Haiti last January. The camp is home to more than 20,000 people, including some 8,000 children.

"I don't live well," said Ms. Garane. "There are mosquitoes that bite me and I don't eat well. My roof leaks and I don't have plastic sheeting to cover it."

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake got a firsthand look at the reality facing Ms. Garane's family and others displaced by the quake when he visited the Accra camp yesterday. Mr. Lake toured the camp's facilities and spent time with children in one of its six 'child-friendly spaces' -- protected areas where children can safely learn and play, which are run by the American Refugee Committee with support from UNICEF.

"Who could be more vulnerable than children who have not only had their homes destroyed, and perhaps lost family members, but who are now living with such horrific memories?" asked Mr. Lake.

Mr. Lake noted that, in camps like Accra, humanitarian agencies must continue to ensure that children receive education, health care and other essential services. He cautioned, however, that "we need to do it in a way that is matched by efforts to reintegrate these people into their communities, even those who did not have homes before."

Standing with her children at a makeshift stand in the Accra camp, where she sells fried dough balls to support her family, Jant Garane said she was waiting for a better day in Haiti -- with high hopes that it will come. "I'd like to have a place to live and money to open my own business," she said.

UNICEF is committed to ensuring that all of these hopes are realized.

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