One year after a devastating earthquake killed an estimated 222,000 people and left 1.5 million people homeless, Haitians continue to endure appalling living conditions amid a nationwide cholera outbreak, despite the largest humanitarian aid deployment in the world.

In the past year, MSF teams have:

  • treated 358,758 patients;
  • performed 16,578 surgical operations;
  • treated 91,000 cholera patients (over 50% of all cholera patients in Haiti);
  • and delivered 15,105 babies

MSF received massive financial support for the Haiti emergency from hundreds of thousands of donors around the world. To all of you who donated, thank you very much. By the end of 2010, MSF estimates that it will have spent all of the €104 million ($138 million) donated by private individuals to mobilize its earthquake relief effort and respond to the cholera epidemic.

MSF’s operational budget projection for Haiti for 2011 is €46 million to maintain a network of six hospitals in Port-au-Prince which provide free health care, with a total capacity of up to 1,000 beds, and to continue supporting two Ministry of Health hospitals. Three of the facilities in the capital will be newly constructed in 2011—including the only functioning burn treatment unit in the capital. Outside the capital, in Léogâne, MSF will continue to run a newly constructed 120-bed general hospital.

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While overall access to basic healthcare has improved since the earthquake, the rapid spread of cholera across the country underscores the limits of the international aid system in responding effectively to new emergencies. International agencies must live up to the commitments made to the Haitian people and to donors by turning promises into more concrete actions.

Urgent humanitarian needs must be met while long-term reconstruction plans are pursued. The overall health of the population and the ability to contain the risk of disease outbreaks depend on improving water and sanitation and ensuring that the one million people still living in tents have access to sufficient transitional shelter.

“The massive devastation wrought by the earthquake provoked an extraordinary outpouring of generosity from private individual donors around the world and promises from the international community to ‘build Haiti back better,” said Stefano Zannini, MSF head of mission in Haiti.  “But the sad reality today is that even as Haitians try to rebuild their lives, many people remain extremely vulnerable, especially as they face a second and largely preventable disaster in a cholera epidemic that so far has claimed at least 3,600 more lives.”

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Visit the 'Haiti: One Year' mini website for more webclips and photo slideshows.

MSF today issued a review of its own emergency response following the earthquake and an assessment of the existing gaps in secondary health care services that it will attempt to address in the year ahead. MSF’s response in Haiti since the earthquake and the cholera epidemic constitutes the largest disaster operation in the organization’s history.

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MSF has delivered more than 15,000 babies in Haiti in the past year.  Providing quality obstetric care is a prioirty for MSF.
Since the start of the cholera epidemic, MSF-supported cholera treatment centers have treated more than 91,000 people out of the 171,300 cases reported nationwide through January 1, 2011.
“As the anniversary of the earthquake approaches, it is important to reflect even more on the shortfalls of the past year given the immense needs of the population and the trust bestowed by individuals worldwide to help meet those needs,” said Dr. Unni Karunakara, MSF international president. “With the ongoing generous support of our private donors and commitment of our staff—many of whom continued to work despite the deaths of family members and friends—MSF is dedicated to using our experience in Haiti to sustain and improve upon our programs in the country and to remain prepared for future emergencies."

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Haiti: where aid failed

Why have at least 2,500 people died of cholera when there are about 12,000 NGOs in the country?
asks MSF International President Unni Karunakara

Dr. Unni Karunakara (centre)
Haiti should be an unlikely backdrop for the latest failure of the humanitarian relief system. The country is small and accessible and, following last January's earthquake, it hosts one of the largest and best-funded international aid deployments in the world. An estimated 12,000 non-governmental organisations are there. Why then, have at least 2,500 people died of cholera, a disease that's easily treated and controlled?  Read full article here

Mirlanda - A Survivor's Story

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"The first time I met Mirlanda she told me she wanted to play football.  The fact that she didn't have two legs made no difference to her."  Watch a short video of Mirlanda here


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