April 8, 2010- Three months on from the massive earthquake that reduced two-thirds of Port-au-Prince to rubble, international aid agency World Vision is partnering in Port-au-Prince’s first community move to transitional land.
Last week, the Government announced that a plot of over 7500 hectares just outside Port-au-Prince at a place called Corail-Cesselesse would be made available for relocation of displaced people most at risk from the upcoming rainy season.
Many NGOs including World Vision have been poised to take action for several weeks on the Government of Haiti’s transitional shelter strategy, including partnering on incentives and support, as well as the allocation of responsibilities and tasks associated with building new communities.
“Due to issues around availability of land, we lost a lot of time,” said Liz Satow, World Vision’s Acting Response Manager, in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday. “Now we’re faced with a delicate balance – move fast for the sake of the displaced communities, but not so fast that we overlook their rights. We need good coordination between government, agencies and the communities in order to protect people from further risks.”
World Vision will build around one-third of the 1356 shelters planned for the site, using an innovative aluminium frame shelter model that can be used with canvas or stronger building materials like corrugated metal and wood, depending on materials available. World Vision hopes to provide similar support to other transitional land as it is released.
In the interim, World Vision will provide some of the tents for the site and WFP food rations to the 7500 people expected to move in around 10 days, starting from April 10.
Under the government’s Safer Shelter Strategy, a move to Corail-Cesselesse is considered a last resort, with other assisted options including returning to existing homes or land, or seeking interim shelter with a host family. The Government is finalising incentive packages for each of these options.
Issues of land tenure, as well as the rights of displaced communities to understand and make their own decisions about where they go, are two important protection issues for World Vision as discussions continue. In addition, jobs and services must be planned for new communities to achieve a basic quality of life.
World Vision’s ongoing distribution of tarpaulins, as well as household items such as blankets and cooking sets, recognises that the majority of the 650,000-plus camp residents will remain where they are in the short term. Building materials are being distributed to make temporary constructions in the camps sturdier and more waterproof.
Protecting children’s health is a priority in the rainy season; as well as introducing stationary or mobile health clinics in several camps, World Vision is paying camp residents to take part in sanitation and drainage works to lessen the risk of flooding.
“Whether people move back, move forward or stay where they are, we have some complex issues to resolve here,” said Ms Satow.
World Vision has been working in Haiti for over thirty years in relief, development and advocacy. Our relief and recovery programme in response to the quake will be substantial and longterm, including projects in shelter and housing, sanitation and water, health, livelihoods and child protection.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press.