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(13/07/2010)

The biggest lesson of Haiti: We must reduce the risks of disasters before they happen

If building the country back better means anything, it means making sure its people are never again as vulnerable as they were on Jan. 12

The sixth-month anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake is an opportunity to take stock of what was achieved on the humanitarian side, and what more could have been done. This is not a theoretical exercise. We need to make sure that, when the next major disaster happens, we improve our response.

A huge amount was achieved by the authorities and the international community in the weeks and months that followed the quake. Many lives were saved, and are being saved today, because of the relief effort. One of the most successful search and rescue efforts even pulled many from the rubble when all hope seemed to be gone. About four million people have received food assistance, and more than a million clean water and temporary shelter. About 200,000 people have participated in cash-for-work programs, benefiting an estimated one million Haitians. No major epidemics have struck. No second disaster has followed the first.

Haiti was unusual – almost unprecedented – because of the local scale of the disaster, and the difficulties of the urban, capital city context. The quake is estimated to have killed a quarter of a million people and affected almost one-third of the Haitian population. It was the most significant disaster requiring a large-scale international response since the Pakistan earthquake of 2005. And it was a major test of the capacity, resources and response readiness of the global humanitarian community. I believe we passed that test for the most part, but important lessons were learned that must be applied if we’re to do even better next time. For more information please visit http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/the-biggest-lesson-of-haiti-we-must-reduce-the-risks-of-disasters-before-they-happen/article1641674/

Fuente: The Globe and Mail

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Plan Interamericano para la Prevención, la Atención de los Desastres y la Coordinación de la Asistencia Humanitaria
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Monitoreo de Emergencias. Organización Panamericana de la Salud
VII PLATAFORMA REGIONAL PARA LA REDUCCIÓN DEL RIESGO DE DESASTRES EN LAS AMÉRICAS