Serving Children with Disabilities in Haiti

As earthquake relief and recovery efforts enter their fourth week in Haiti, ChildFund and its partner CBM are continuing to aid those with disabilities and disabling injuries.

“Children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable in emergency situations and require focused protection measures,” notes Anne Edgerton, ChildFund’s disaster management team leader.

The Haiti earthquake resulted in high rates of orthopedic injuries. Untreated for days and weeks, broken and badly injured limbs can develop gangrenous infections. The total number of amputees due to the earthquake could stretch into tens of thousands, Dr. Ronald Waldman of USAID told Reuters news service.

One Haitian physician told Reuters that the earthquake has created a generation of amputees, many of them young, who will need care for years to come.

“Attention to these issues early on is crucial,” says Edgerton, “because children who have injuries and other disabilities are more likely to be overlooked in relief efforts.”

CBM and ChildFund are coordinating relief efforts with Haiti’s Secretariat for Inclusion of People with Disabilities and other local and international humanitarian aid groups.

We are also supporting the Centre d’Education Special, which provided services to 500 children with disabilities in Port-au-Prince before the earthquake hit. “Now, with renewed attention and resources after this disaster, children with disabilities and injuries — as well as other community children in need — will be located and included in rehabilitation support appropriate to their needs,” Edgerton says.

To support ChildFund’s partnership with CBM in Haiti, click here. Contributions made no later than Feb. 28, 2010, can be deducted from 2009 tax returns.

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