San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Haiti still struggling one year later

GENEVA – Almost a year after the earthquake that devastated Haiti, 380,000 children still live in overcrowded temporary camps that provide shelter for more than 1 million people.

A report by the United Nations agency Unicef said Friday that quake victims are distributed among 1,200 provisional settlements, of which a mere 9 percent house more than half the displaced population.

“The other half is scattered in literally hundreds of places with less than a thousand people each, which makes the displacement a complex situation in itself,” the agency said.

The temblor that struck Jan. 12, 2010, which took 220,000 lives, has been tough on a juvenile population that was already deprived of its most basic rights and needs.

According to Unicef figures, when the disaster occurred, only half of the children had access to primary education, and only one in five Haitians had access to health-care institutions.

Historically, Haiti has also been one of the countries with the greatest inequality in terms of income, and, according to figures from before the earthquake, half the population lived on less than $1 a day.

The non-governmental organization Oxfam denounced the discouraging state of reconstruction, which it said has hit a “dead end.” Oxfam added that sif today there are still more than a million people living in tents, it is due to a tragic combination of government indecision and a lack of coordination among donors.

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