We Remain Committed to the People of Haiti

Date Publish: 
Haiti / America

Six months after the January 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti,
the country and the international community are still reeling from
the human tragedy: some 230,000 people dead, an estimated 300,000
injured and 1.5 million Haitians left homeless. This is undoubtedly
one of the greatest humanitarian crises in the history of the
Western Hemisphere.

In the aftermath, IOM was able to offer immediate assistance to
earthquake victims through the Haiti mission, which has provided
relief and development services since 1993. Through the Camp
Coordination Camp Management (CCCM) cluster, IOM has registered
more than 720,000 displaced individuals, documenting the conditions
and critical needs of spontaneous settlements and disaster affected
communities. This information is then made available to
international partners who are able to respond to the needs of the
affected communities.

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target="" title="">Migration Summer 2010

IOM also provided emergency assistance through the Non-Food Item
(NFI) team which helped displaced communities by distributing
essential items such tarps, blankets, hygiene, kitchen and medical
kits. The NFI team is often the first to respond to the needs of
the displaced and frequently serves as a triage unit which refers
individuals and communities to other departments and agencies for
further assistance. Since January 14, close to 2 million non-food
items have been distributed to 200,000 families, in cooperation
with 178 NGO and other partners.

The IOM/CCCM Camp Management Operations, Shelter, and Site
Planning units are working closely with the Haitian Government and
with humanitarian partners to map the actual situation of displaced
communities and respond accordingly through upgrading of existing
shelters, construction of transitional shelters, and planning and
implementation of emergency relocation sites for those at severe
risk of flooding or other environmental disaster. The Migration
Health team also provides crucial psychosocial support to
earthquake victims as a first step in rebuilding the health system
and encouraging the earliest possible return to communities.

In order to provide help to the most needy, in line with the
priorities of local government and displaced communities, IOM
employs a team of Community Mobilizers to provide information on
health, security and other issues, as well to listen to the
concerns of displaced communities. These concerns are then shared
with government and humanitarian partners in order to find shared
solutions and responses.

Today, hundreds of thousands of displaced remain in some 1,300
sites in spite of major efforts by IOM and a web of humanitarian
organizations on the ground to build large numbers of transitional
shelters. The challenges facing the country are gargantuan, and the
pace of recovery and reconstruction often painfully slow.

In partnership with the international community, through the UN
cluster system, IOM and the Camp Management Camp Coordination
Cluster are focused on urgently needed deliverables in Haiti. These
include : building 125,000 hard temporary shelters for 600,000
people; moving at least 30,000 families back to safe
‘green’ and repaired ‘yellow’ houses;
ensuring sufficient numbers of communal hurricane shelters are
ready to accept displaced communities, by retrofitting or
rebuilding some 900 sites designated for this purpose; supporting
the Haitian Government plan for decongestion and regional
development through distribution of cash and in-kind incentives and
improving social services in priority communities and new
settlements outside Port-au-Prince.

Six months after the earthquake, IOM is continuing to support
the Government of Haiti and international partners in moving from
crisis management to disaster risk reduction and sustainable
development. IOM is working towards this via such activities as:
hazard mapping for disaster response; assisting to develop a robust
civil protection regime; monitoring population movement to inform
and assist planning; facilitating public works projects providing
employment opportunities; implementing environmentally sustainable
development; and supporting social stability efforts focusing on
decentralized development.

This issue of Migration Magazine is a compilation of articles
written by a dedicated team of Haitian journalists from the Haiti
Press Network. Their stories illuminate the grave challenges Haiti
faces, the indomitable Haitian spirit, and the international
community’s commitment to provide the unfailing support that
the people of Haiti so richly deserve and so desperately require in
this, their greatest hour of need.

© IOM 2010 (Photo: Mark Turner)