Wednesday, October 8, 2008

New Jobs Desperately Needed In Hurricane-Ravaged Haiti

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="A family outside their home in Leogane, a town in southern Haiti hit by Hurricane Gustav"]A family outside their home in Leogane, a town in southern Haiti hit by Hurricane Gustav[/caption]

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today appealed for funds so it can run projects that would offer jobs to up to 400,000 Haitians whose incomes have disappeared since a series of deadly hurricanes lashed the poor Caribbean country over the past two months.

Generating employment is critical to kick-starting Haiti’s recovery after the tropical storms, UNDP said in a news release issued today, warning that tens of thousands of breadwinners now have no income to support their families.

Joel Boutroue, the head of UNDP in Haiti and the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative, said it was “an absolute imperative that we act immediately” to create jobs and rehabilitate both infrastructure and the natural environment.

“Without a concerted effort of the international community and financial contributions from donors, we’re going to see more poverty, suffering and social instability,” Mr. Boutroue said.

A team from UNDP in the capital, Port-au-Prince, plans to initiate a policy process to help create a social safety net that is currently absent in Haiti, which is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

In the northern city of Gonaïves, hit hardest by the hurricanes, UNDP said a $3 million watershed management programme that before the storms employed 7,000 people could resume in one to three weeks.

Under the programme, locals built dikes and water walls, planted trees to protect against landslides and carried out activities to preserve agriculture in the face of natural disasters.

Hundreds of thousands of people across Haiti are receiving humanitarian support from UN aid agencies in the wake of hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike, which struck the country in quick succession between mid-August and early September.

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