· World Vision survey finds more than half of Haiti’s displaced fear robbery, rape
· As rainy season approaches, poor weather highlights need for secure shelter for families
· World Vision encourages U.N. and Haitian government to focus on crime-prevention strategies
February 12, 2010, Port-au-Prince, Haiti– Haiti’s homeless are in need of protection and shelter says humanitarian agency World Vision after a new survey finds that more than half of respondents said they are living in exposed shelter and reported security concerns, including fear of robbery and rape.
“Shelter is the utmost priority for people now in Haiti, not just in advance of the coming rains, but to provide privacy and some additional security,” said World Vision’s Humanitarian Protection Specialist Patrick Sooma. “Temporary shelters also leave children extremely vulnerable, particularly those separated from their parents.”
As part of an assessment of need across Port-au-Prince, World Vision asked men and women living in spontaneous settlements, expansive camps and in tents outside their homes about their protection, security and safety concerns.
More than half of the households surveyed said they were concerned about their safety. Fears included risk of robbery, “evil forces,” rape and general insecurity. More than one in ten households said they lacked protection or security from authorities.
“World Vision encourages the United Nations to work with the Government of Haiti to draw up crime-prevention strategies that provide much-needed protection to vulnerable people living in very difficult conditions,” said Sooma. “Any planning must also make sure camps are well-lit and that communities have warning tools such as whistles and mobile phones.”
World Vision is calling for security information to be coordinated and shared between Government authorities, U.S. military leaders and U.N. peacekeepers, but most importantly, with the communities themselves. During this period of acute vulnerability, protection forces must maintain high visibility throughout the city to protect people against potential crime.
“One camp we spoke to has resorted to providing its own security,” said Sooma. “Others said they feel incredibly unsafe as they effectively sleep on the street, exposed to theft, violence and attack. Some respondents asked for protective fencing around camps, even more asked for police protection.”
To help protect and care for children in camps, World Vision has established safe places for children to play and learn in six camps across the capital and will open 16 more in the coming weeks. The agency is also distributing shelter supplies to thousands of people in camps and has helped more than half a million people with food and other emergency assistance.
World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world’s poor —regardless of a person’s religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press.