UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie meets Haitian quake survivors

News Stories, 10 February 2010

© Marco Di Lauro/UNHCR via Getty Images
UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie talks to a 10-year-old Haitian boy who lost a limb during the January 12 earthquake in Haiti.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, February 9 (UNHCR) UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie arrived on Tuesday in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, where she visited earthquake survivors and met aid workers from local and international organizations.

Jolie, who said she was in Haiti to "listen and to learn," visited medical centres, the UN mission and met with vulnerable children. On her arrival in the Haitian capital, Jolie was briefed by the United Nations Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General Edmond Mulet on the scale of the humanitarian operation to date and the challenges that remain.

She also visited a cash-for-work programme run by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in the Carrefour district of Port-au-Prince, which is enabling Haitians to earn an income as they help their country to recover. "To give people the ability to work towards their own future is so important at this time. It helps to restore their hope and respects their dignity," said Jolie.

The programme is assisting some 40,000 people with an aim of reaching more than 400,000. She commended the participants who told her they were happy to clean up their country and then sang her a song about Haitian pride.

In the Santo area of Port-au-Prince, Jolie visited SOS Children's Villages, a worldwide programme to raise children inside their own countries. Since the earthquake, the organization has begun providing additional care for children who have been newly orphaned or who have lost contact with their parents as a result of the catastrophe. SOS is working to reunite children with their family members and will continue to care for those without any caregivers.

Jolie applauded their work, while stressing that "new adoptions should definitely not be encouraged as an immediate response to the emergency. Haiti had many trafficking problems before the earthquake and now must keep a very close watch on the children. I would encourage as much support as possible to groups like SOS and UNICEF providing care for children in country."

The acclaimed actress also visited a tented hospital set up and run by UNHCR partner, Médecins Sans Frontières, in the commune of Delmas, also in Port-au-Prince. "I was struck by the strength and spirit of the Haitian people. Children as young as nine months old were coping with amputations with extraordinary resilience. I even met a little 10-year-old boy who had recently had his leg amputated, who was giggling to himself about a silly book as he sat on the floor," Jolie revealed.

"These doctors are extraordinary," she said. "For all the patients that had to have amputations there are also a high number of limbs and lives that the doctors have managed to save."

"It will take years to rebuild Haiti," Jolie said, after seeing the devastation from the January 12 earthquake. "Every day, the UN, governments, NGOs and local organizations are providing more people with protection, food, water, shelter and health care, yet the needs are still enormous and the displacement could last a decade.

"Providing adequate shelter to the displaced is of paramount importance, especially as the upcoming rainy season threatens to add to the devastation. Everyone is bracing themselves for a second wave of tragedy."

Before arriving in Haiti, Jolie spent a day in the Dominican Republic, where she visited Haitian earthquake victims in the local public hospital and in nearby shelters. "I was heartened to see the care being provided by Dominican doctors and nurses and to witness the generosity of local society, which is caring for discharged patients and their families in their recovery," she said.

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

Related Internet Links

UNHCR is not responsible for the content and availability of external internet sites

Angelina Jolie returns to Iraq, urges support for the displaced

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie returned to Iraq in July 2009 to offer support to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who remain displaced within their own country.

During her day-long visit to Baghdad, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie visited a makeshift settlement for internally displaced people in north-west Baghdad where she met families displaced from the district of Abu Ghraib, located to the west of Baghdad, and from the western suburbs of the capital.

Despite the difficulties in Iraq, Jolie said this was a moment of opportunity for Iraqis to rebuild their lives. "This is a moment where things seem to be improving on the ground, but Iraqis need a lot of support and help to rebuild their lives."

UNHCR estimates that 1.6 million Iraqis were internally displaced by a wave of sectarian warfare that erupted in February 2006 after the bombing of a mosque in the ancient city of Samarra. Almost 300,000 people have returned to their homes amid a general improvement in the security situation since mid-2008.

Angelina Jolie returns to Iraq, urges support for the displaced

Angelina Jolie meets boat people in Malta, Lampedusa

Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie joined UNHCR chief António Guterres on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where they met with boat people who have fled unrest in North Africa.

More than 40,000 people, including refugees and asylum-seekers, have crossed the Mediterranean on overcrowded boats and descended on the small island since the beginning of the year.

The UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador flew to Lampedusa from Malta, which has also been a destination for people fleeing North Africa by boat.

Angelina Jolie meets boat people in Malta, Lampedusa

Angelina Jolie in Bosnia

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie met with forcibly displaced people on April 5, 2010 during her first visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The actress, accompanied by her partner Brad Pitt, called for steps to end the continued suffering of these victims of the Bosnian War after hearing their harrowing tales and seeing their grim living conditions.

Jolie was clearly moved by the spirit - and the ordeal - of the people she met and she pledged to highlight their case. Most of the people she talked to have been living in exile since the end of the 1992-1995 conflict. Jolie visited collective centres in the towns of Gorazde and Rogatica, where the inhabitants lack basic services such as running water.

The actress spent some time with a group of women who were raped or tortured during the war. Their tales left a deep impression on her. She also met a family of refugee returnees who were still waiting to move into their village home near the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad.

Angelina Jolie in Bosnia

Jordan: Angelina Jolie in conversation with refugeesPlay video

Jordan: Angelina Jolie in conversation with refugees

UNHCR's Special Envoy speaks with two Syrian women who have suffered the ravages of the war in their country.
Jordan: WORLD REFUGEE DAY Za'atri visitPlay video

Jordan: WORLD REFUGEE DAY Za'atri visit

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie and High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres call for diplomacy to stop the conflict in Syria.
Jordan: Angelina Jolie meets Syrian Refugees at BorderPlay video

Jordan: Angelina Jolie meets Syrian Refugees at Border

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visited Jordan's rapidly expanding Za'atri refugee camp today to mark World Refugee Day, which is commemorated each year on 20 June. They toured the camp and met with individual Syrians who had fled the conflict.