The top United Nations envoy in Haiti today hailed the reopening of a large number of schools in areas devastated by January’s earthquake as “a significant stage” in Government actions for a return to normality.
“I feel particularly bound to acknowledge the enormous efforts of parents to support their children during these difficult moments, as well as the dedication of the teachers who have helped the children overcome their psychological trauma,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Edmond Mulet said in a statement.
“This remarkable effort by the Haitian Government and people comes barely three months after the devastating earthquake. Since then Haitians have laboured without respite to remove the debris and to raise new structures that can serve as schools.”
Some 38,000 students and 1,300 teachers and other education personnel were among the more than 200,000 people, including 101 UN personnel, killed by the 12 January quake, which also destroyed more than 4,000 schools as well as the Ministry of Education’s headquarters, according to the UN Children’s Fund (<"http://www.unicef.org/">UNICEF).
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (<"http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/">UNESCO) and Haitian officials have already developed a special syllabus for 600,000 children that takes into account the trauma they suffered and the class time lost.
Mr. Mulet assured the Government and people of the continued support of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (<"http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/minustah/">MINUSTAH) “in these moments of great challenge to rebuild what has been destroyed.”
MINUSTAH has been on the ground since mid-2004 after then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide went into exile amid violent unrest. Currently there are more than 9,000 military and police personnel deployed and nearly 2,000 civilian staff.