Sites may have been chosen, mayors notified, NGOs lined up, but what is still missing to prepare temporary tent communities in disaster-torn Haiti is heavy equipment and land surveyors.
Irinnews.org: PORT-AU-PRINCE, 26 January 2010 (IRIN) - The Haitian
government estimates at least 500,000 need shelter after the 12 January
earthquake devastated the city, but the challenge is to find options that will
get people through the upcoming hurricane season, which typically starts in May,
said Jean Phillippe Antolin, with the International Organization for Migration
(IOM), which is coordinating UN efforts to provide shelter.
government has identified at least 30 sites to turn into temporary tent
communities in Port-au-Prince, most in areas where people are already informally
camped out, but longer-term solutions are required.
Antolin told IRIN the
numbers needing shelter outstrip current resources - even for temporary tenting.
“We cannot come up with tents for up to 700,000 people - we simply do not have
them at hand.” He added that even where available, a tent-based community
approach would be at best good for the next three months.
In a working
draft of a shelter strategy for earthquake victims, the UN has proposed
alternatives. They include providing support to host families to take in those
made homeless, as was done after last year’s hurricanes; providing materials to
improve safety and comfort in areas where people have gathered; assessing which
houses are safe for reoccupation; and as a last resort, to build new
settlements, which IOM’s Antolin said would be the most complicated
“Unless there is already donor-backed construction under way,
this option is the least feasible,” Antolin told IRIN.
The government is,
however, evaluating how many people can be relocated to an Inter-American
Development Bank (IADB)-financed construction in the Croix-de-Bouquets
Sites may have been chosen, mayors notified, NGOs lined
up, but what is still missing to prepare temporary tent communities is heavy
equipment and land surveyors, according to IOM.
Antolin told IRIN the
first step to improving living conditions for those made homeless is to assess
the safety of their living spaces, dig drainage and make sure the sites comply
with government regulations. “To do that, we need engineers to assess the land
and heavy equipment to prepare the space. We do not have
“Without those two, we cannot even start worrying about the
shortage of tents because we will not have anywhere to place those
He said discussions were under way
with the US army’s corps of engineers. ...
To read the rest of the story, click to www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=87875.
HAITI: Looking to the hurricane season
January 26, 2010