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Canada Commemorates the Fourth Anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake

New initiative will help Haitian families resettle into safe permanent housing

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 01/13/14 -- Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Four years ago, on January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti and took the lives of more than 200,000 people. Hundreds of thousands more were injured, and more than a million and a half were left homeless. Today, to commemorate this tragic event, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, announced a new initiative to help Haitian families resettle into safe permanent housing.

"As we commemorate this day, let us remember all those who lost their lives or loved ones in this tragedy. Helping Haiti recover and rebuild back is the best way to show solidarity with the people of this country and to honour the victims of the disaster," said Minister Paradis. "This new initiative will help thousands of Haitian families resettle into new homes, and greatly improve their quality of life."

The Resettling Haitian Families initiative will help close sixty camps identified as among the most vulnerable, and relocate approximately 53,000 internally-displaced people. The project will also allow for the cleaning of the vacated camps and enable schools that were still being used as temporary camps to return to teaching.

Approximately 70% of this initiative's beneficiaries are under 30 years of age - most of whom are children under the age of 15, or single mothers vulnerable to violence and abuse.

Canada continues to deliver on ongoing commitments while it reviews its long-term engagement strategy with Haiti in order to ensure more concrete and sustainable results for the Haitian people and accountability for Canadian taxpayers.

Quick Facts

--  This new announcement is for $20 million in development assistance to
    the International Organization for Migration.
--  More than 145,000 Haitians still live in camps.

Today's commitment builds on the successful Champ de Mars resettlement project, also funded by Canada, through which close to 5,600 families (or some 20,000 people) were resettled who were living in internally displaced persons camps, which were once located in a public park adjacent to the Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince.



The $20 million (over two fiscal years) Resettling Haitian Families initiative will target the closure of sixty camps identified as the most vulnerable to natural disasters or that are located in critical areas, such as school yards. Approximately 16,000 families, or 53,000 internally displaced people will be resettled into new homes.

The project will also clean the vacated camps and enable, for example, those schools that were still used being as temporary camps to return to teaching.

Canada's work in Haiti is focused on improving the lives of those most in need, and is achieving important results.

Fully 1.5 million people - approximately the population in the city of Montreal - were residing in camps following the earthquake in January 2010. Today estimates place this figure at just under 146,600 people. Canada was one of the first donors to step forward to help the Haitian people find adequate lodging and/or repair damaged homes.

Canada is working to demonstrate accountability to Canadian taxpayers, while delivering tangible results for the people of Haiti. Surveys of displaced individuals one year after they were relocated, as well as independent evaluations, have shown that the housing subsidy approach supported by Canadian Investments has been effective in helping families regain a normal life.

Canada is a global leader on aid transparency and accountability, which has been validated by independent organizations like Publish What You Fund. Canada achieved the best record among donor countries under the International Aid Transparency Initiative. Detailed information about Canadian development projects is readily available online, including project descriptions, current status, timelines for completion, and exact breakdowns of Canada's financial contributions to the executing agencies. These include experienced and trusted partners from civil society, the private sector and multilateral institutions, all of whom have shown their capacity to deliver results.

In addition to the exceptional funds that were committed following the earthquake, Canada continues to provide assistance in the areas of food security and sustainable economic growth. For example, more than 440,000 Haitians now have access to credit, as members of a network of 47 credit unions, thereby stimulating Haiti's small and medium-sized business sector. Promoting new economic opportunities and jobs for Haitians is essential to alleviating poverty, economic growth and poverty reduction are two sides of the same coin. The private sector can, and must, play a defining role in this process.

Canada pays what it pledges, and remains committed to working with Haiti. Our long-term engagement strategy is currently being reviewed, a process that includes convening other international donors along with the Government of Haiti to enable the effective coordination of aid investments that deliver sustainable results. Canada will keep playing a key role in Haiti and keep building on the deep and long-standing ties that have existed between Canadians and Haitians for more than a half-century.

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