UNESCO emergency response in support of Haiti

UNESCO is standing by the people of Haiti and mobilizing support for the government in response to emergency situations in areas affected by the recent earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace that hit the country a few days apart. Both events occurred as Haiti was preparing for the start of the school year.

UNESCO and Haiti have established very close cooperation, especially in recent years, and we are determined to provide our full support particularly in the fields of education and culture, whose essential role has been well demonstrated during the country's recent history.
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General

UNESCO considers the continuity of education for children in the affected areas to be a priority and will support this objective following an assessment of damages sustained by schools and other educational infrastructure. On 18 August, UNESCO convened a coordination meeting of all its teams and experts on the ground to conduct a preliminary assessment and prepare an emergency response.

UNESCO is also working on responses to the impact of the two natural disasters on both heritage and natural sites such as the La Hotte Biosphere Reserve. A mission of experts from the Institute of National Heritage (ISPAN) left for the south of the country on 19 August to assess the damage to built heritage.

UNESCO will also ensure that local journalists and media can provide essential information to the affected population. UNESCO's networks for environmental protection and disaster prevention (YoUCAN, CARIDIMA) have been mobilized. In affected areas, young people are helping coordinate the humanitarian response and ensure that information is communicated in real time.

UNESCO has furthermore offered the Haitian authorities access to its emergency assistance fund for immediate actions related to the earthquake and flooding from Tropical Storm Grace. UNESCO is calling on its partners and donors to join in the efforts to rehabilitate and restore essential services, and to provide psycho-social support to children affected by these disasters. The Organization reiterates its full support to the people and authorities of Haiti.