Haiti: Hurricane Matthew - Situation Report No. 23 (19 November 2016)

This report is produced by OCHA in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It was issued by the Hurricane Matthew Emergency Response Team and covers the period from 16 to 19 November 2016. The next report will be issued on 22 November. Sign up to receive reports of the Emergency Response Team: http://eepurl.com/Kyey5

Main Points

  • Tensions increased in Les Cayes over threats of evictions of families temporarily sheltering in schools. Humanitarian partners developed contingency plans to address protection needs.

  • From 8 October to 18 November, 590,000 people received food assistance, representing 73 per cent of the 806,000 people at extreme food insecurity in the affected areas.

  • Funding for the three-month Flash Appeal has increased by six per cent during this reporting period. Some US$56 million is still required.

  • The possibility of a tropical depression forming in the southern Caribbean Sea over the next five days brings the risk of heavy rains in southern Haiti.

112,500 Children at risk of acute malnutrition Source: UNICEF

33,578 Displaced people registered so far by IOM Source: IOM

6,096 Cholera cases suspected (4 October to 9 November)
Source: WHO/PAHO

1,663 Schools damaged Source: Government

Situation Overview

The need to ensure that students return to school at the earliest opportunity is complicated by the use of an estimated 86 schools as shelters. The issue of eviction of families temporarily sheltered in schools has been at the centre of the work of humanitarian organizations in affected areas. As indicated in the previous Situation Report, students and local authorities have increased the pressure on families to leave a number of schools. Despite working closely with governmental counterparts to resolve this issue, local authorities have begun forcibly evicting people from some of the schools.

In Les Cayes, close to 1,000 people were forcibly expelled from École Nationale Dumarsais Estimé in the night of 15 November.

This is not an acceptable solution and the humanitarian community will continue to work to address the situation whilst advocating strongly for any returns process to be underpinned by the applicable principles and conducted in a voluntary and dignified manner, particularly focusing on the needs of the vulnerable.

On 18 November, a rapid verification revealed that schools scheduled to host polling centres in Les Cayes and Torbeck had either been emptied or alternative locations for voting had been found.
Meanwhile in Jérémie, the Centre d’Opérations d’Urgence Départemental (COUD) reported that between 9 and 18 November the number of public shelters in Grand’Anse decreased from 76 to 36. Of those, the number of schools went from 37 to 23. The estimate number of families in those shelters dropped from 3,706 to 2,369. Verification of these numbers will take place in coming days.

At the time of this report, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) stated medium risk of a tropical depression during the next five days in the Caribbean Sea, with a medium, 60 per cent chance of heavy rains. It was previously reported that there was a slight possibility of the tropical depression intensifying into a tropical storm. The regions of Grand’Anse, Nippes, Nord, Nord-ouest, Nord-est, Centre, and Nippes are at risk of heavy rains. In parts of Grand’Anse, rains have already worn out certain routes, leaving a few locations without access to humanitarian aid. On 18 November, the Centre d’Opérations d’Urgence National (COUN) put key civil protection sectors, the police and the COUDs on alert and recalled all personnel to duty until further notice.

Due to the support to and focus on the elections, MINUSTAH armed escorts and on-site security have been suspended and will resume after the elections, on 24 November. Provided the prevailing security situation, weather conditions and its capacity during this period allow, MINUSTAH will be available to provide escorts and on-site security starting from 22 November at the local level and from 23 November at the national level. Requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. More information will be shared with humanitarian partners by MINUSTAH’s Joint Operations Centre (JOC) after the elections.

The Deputy Humanitarian Coordination (DHC) has communicated to members of the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) that while the overall situation in the affected areas remains challenging, the use of armed escorts should neither become the norm nor seen as a long-term solution. Cases should be decided individually and in accordance with programme criticality. Although it is strongly acknowledged that some instances may require the use of armed escorts, alternative methods should also be considered when possible. Criteria for decision-making on this matter are clearly outlined in the IASC Non-Binding Guidelines on the Use of Armed Escorts for Humanitarian Convoys. Below is a review of armed escorts in recent weeks, illustrating the relation between geographical direction and quantity.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.