Relief agency says shelter is Haiti’s greatest need and aid groups’ greatest challenge
World Vision has provided emergency food aid to over 1.8 million people
Port-au-Prince, July 12, 2010
—Six months after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, World Vision says much has been done to help the people of Haiti, but the road to lasting recovery will take many years. As aid groups transition from relief to recovery efforts, providing sturdy, safe shelter to survivors is one of the most pressing and complex challenges now facing aid workers. With hurricane season already underway, better shelter is also one of the most urgent needs for families.
“Our relief efforts continue at full pace, providing clean water, education for children, temporary shelter, job training and more.
However, the long-term needs of Haiti remain daunting. Our priority now is getting transitional shelters up and doing all we can prepare for hurricane season,” said Ton van Zutphen, the agency’s response director.
With 30 years of experience in Haiti and hundreds of staff already living and working in the country, World Vision launched a large-scale relief program immediately after the January 12 quake. The Christian humanitarian organization continues to assist thousands still living under tarps in camps, including providing 2 million liters of clean water to 23 camps each week, cash-for-work opportunities for more than 10,000 people across 29 camps, 10 health clinics serving more than 11,000 people, and 22 Child-Friendly Spaces welcoming 7,700 children per week.
After distributing more than 82,000
tarps and tents in the early months of the response, World Vision is currently working to jumpstart transitional shelter projects while continuing to explore new sites, suggest options to repair houses, and mediate in camps to prevent evictions.
Multiple challenges have slowed the process of moving displaced people from emergency shelters to sturdier transitional shelters, including issues around land rights, rubble removal, and determining the most appropriate, durable transitional shelter design for families in Haiti.
“Aid groups have never had to build so many transitional shelters of this durability so quickly,” explained van Zutphen. “And while we're grateful for the generous donations that are making our life-saving work possible, the reality is it will take more than money to move Haiti to the next stage. Strong coordination and clear direction from the national government are paramount to accomplish the many tasks at hand here in Haiti."
Given Haiti’s high rate of poverty and the massive loss of infrastructure and human capital, this earthquake has proven to be
one of the most difficult disaster responses in recent memory. While working to scale up construction of transitional shelters, World Vision is also beginning to implement more sustainable large-scale programs in the areas of livelihoods, water and sanitation, health and education. To learn more about World Vision’s work in Haiti over the past six months, please read our 6-month report here; http://www.worldvision.org/resources.nsf/main/press-haiti/$file/Haitisix.pdf
or call 1-888-56-CHILD (1-888-562-4453).To speak with World Vision staff about the agency’s relief efforts in Haiti, please contact Laura Blank (+1.646.245.2496).
Note to Editor:
Fast facts on World Vision’s relief efforts in Haiti:
An estimated three million men, women and children – or nearly one in three Haitians – were affected by January’s earthquake, and the global community responded generously with time, financial resources, and expertise. That outpouring of support allowed World Vision to begin a full-scale response that continues today. Over the past six months, World Vision has:
· Distributed food to over 1.8 million people.
· Distributed tarpaulins, tents, kitchen sets, blankets, mats, footlockers, and other household items to nearly 120,000 people.
· Assisted 7,730 children each week in 22 Child-Friendly Spaces throughout Port-au-Prince, the Central Plateau, and near the Haiti/Dominican Republic border.
· Opened five mobile and five static health clinics that served 15 camps and over 11,000 persons.
· Registered more than 760 children who were separated from their families during the earthquake. More than 80 children have been reunited with their families.
· Implemented water and sanitation activities in 28 camps, including constructing hundreds of toilets and showers and promoting good hygiene practices.
· Provided 16.8 million liters of clean water, including weekly provision of 2 million liters of treated water in 23 camps.
· Provided food assistance to displaced persons and host families living outside Port-au-Prince, in the North, Central Plateau and South.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. For more information, visit www.worldvision.org/press.