Earthquake-Displaced Haitians in the Dominican Republic Provided Assisted Voluntary Return Home

IOM is today providing voluntary return assistance, in coordination
with the Dominican General Directorate of Migration (DGM), to more
than 150 vulnerable earthquake-displaced Haitians asking for
assistance to return to their country.

The Haitian families, returning to their places of origin in the
Haitian departments of Nord, Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest, and Artibonite,
will be escorted by IOM staff and migration officials from the
Dominican Republic and Haiti, to ensure safe and secure passage
across the border in Dajabón.

In Haiti, the returnees will receive reintegration assistance
from the Juanista Sisters, a religious organization based in
Ouanaminthe, in the Nord-Est department. The reintegration
assistance will include training on starting a business, providing
start-up grants and ongoing monitoring for up to three months.

An estimated 200,000 displaced Haitians are thought to have
arrived in the Dominican Republic in the months following the
January 2010 earthquake. According to DGM officials in the second
largest city, Santiago, there are more than 50,000 Haitians in the

These post-earthquake arrivals have increased the
migration-related concerns of the local population in Santiago. DGM
has received complaints from neighbourhood groups regarding the
crowded and slum-like conditions in which some of the migrants are
living, the strain on the city’s basic infrastructure,
unhygienic conditions in the midst of the cholera outbreak, and the
perception of deteriorating security conditions.

In coordination with NGOs, community-based organizations and
religious congregations, IOM staff spent the month of May speaking
to Haitian migrants in 16 neighbourhoods of Santiago. IOM found
that many had crossed into the Dominican Republic in the initial
days after the earthquake seeking medical attention, while others
arrived in the following months in search of economic

Many of those Haitians arriving post-earthquake have chosen to
return to Haiti and have asked IOM for assistance.

Through the IOM Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration
(AVRR) project, funded by the US Department of State, Bureau of
Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), IOM has registered a
total of 2,131 Haitian earthquake victims in the Dominican Republic
wishing to return home. Until today, 1,150 have been provided
voluntary return and reintegration assistance by IOM and its

The situation of Haitian child victims of trafficking in the
Dominican Republic was brought into focus this year through a raid
carried out by DGM in February that revealed dozens of victims
living in deplorable conditions in a neighbourhood of Santo

The children had been trafficked to the Dominican Republic prior
to the earthquake in January 2010 to beg on the streets of Santo
Domingo or to carry out menial tasks such as shining shoes or
washing windows at busy intersections in the nation’s

Today’s meeting is being held with funding from the US
Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration

For more information, please contact:

Jean-Philippe Antolin

E-mail: "">


Zoë Stopak-Behr

IOM Santo Domingo

Tel: + 809 688 8174

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