PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has provided essential hygiene and shelter items to more than 51,000 people in its ongoing emergency response to help Haitians in the wake of last month’s devastating earthquake, which killed 2,200 people.
“Many of those affected are living in remote areas where infrastructure and roads have been badly hit, causing severe access constraints,” said Giuseppe Loprete, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Haiti. “It has been extremely challenging to provide immediate assistance, but together with our partners we remain committed to reach the affected population in the most remote areas as well.”
Among the 800,000 people affected by the earthquake, thousands are internally displaced and hundreds are still missing. More than 12,000 have been injured, straining an already fragile health system. According to official figures, more than 52,000 houses have been destroyed and 77,000 severely damaged, including essential facilities such as schools and hospitals.
IOM is co-leading the Shelter and Non-Food Items sector, working closely with Government authorities, including the Haitian Civil Protection Directorate (DGPC, in French). IOM has set up a common pipeline service open to international and local partners for the coordinated delivery of shelter and household items. So far, more than 10,000 families have been helped.
As well as delivering the core relief items such as shelter kits that include tools, plastic sheeting and hygiene kits with basics such as soap and toothpaste, IOM teams are helping with official data collection and conducting structural assessments with Haitian authorities. IOM will also be providing critical support demolishing unsafe buildings, clearing rubble and helping communities through cash-for-work activities.
The earthquake has also damaged the bridge in the city of Jérémie, the capital city of the Grand’Anse department – one of the areas worst affected by the earthquake, along with Sud and Nippes departments.
Some communities in Jérémie had been cut off from the rest of the city and lacked access to basic items, but IOM teams on the ground this week delivered hundreds of kits to them. Among items distributed were tarpaulins, hygiene kits, blankets, jerry cans and kitchen sets.
Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s fragile security situation are further complicating the delivery of aid. In the middle of the tropical storm season, the risk of heavy rains and flash floods remains high and poses additional challenges to both aid workers and the population.
IOM protection teams, including trained psychologists, have been deployed to provide urgent psychological first aid and psychosocial support, with special consideration for women and girls who are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation in an emergency.
Haitians can call IOM’s 840 toll-free number to receive psychosocial support, obtain information and register complaints, among others. More than 650,000 people still need urgent life-saving assistance, and funds are needed for long-term recovery efforts focused on shelter, mental health support and COVID-19 prevention.
IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform provides an overview of IOM’s plans and funding requirements to respond to the evolving needs and aspirations of those impacted by, or at risk of, crisis and displacement in 2021 and beyond. The Platform is regularly updated as crises evolve, and new situations emerge.