Six months after the earthquake disaster in Haiti, more than one million survivors continue to live in appalling conditions, with inadequate sanitation, limited access to services, insecurity and food shortages.
“It is time the Haitian government, international community and UN agencies to take concrete steps to address the protection, food security, education, sanitation and other needs of the most vulnerable populations, including those living in unofficial camps. It is essential the international donor community release the funds promised for Haiti without restrictions and facilitate the involvement of Haitian political and civil society groups in tackling the humanitarian crisis and initiating reconstruction in the country,” said Jesuit Refugee Service – Haiti Director Fr. Wismith Lazard, S.J.
Conditions in many of the nearly 1,400 camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) around the capital, Port-au-Prince, are extremely critical. The case of the largest IDP camp where JRS serves, Automeca, with a population of 12,000, is typical: residents continue to live in shacks held up by rags and poles. There are no schools or electricity; sanitation is poor, the water barely drinkable and drainage, to say the least, hazardous. When heavy rain falls, garbage rushes through the camp.
“Camp management and aid delivery structures should always include consultation and cooperation with the displaced people who are swiftly forming their own organizations to advocate for their own particular needs. More attention must be placed on supporting the food and relief needs for IDP recipient communities and people not living in camps so that moving to a camp is not the only way for people to receive minimal food, water, and livelihood assistance,” said JRS/USA Director Fr. Kenneth J. Gavin, S.J.
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