Caribbean Hurricane Season OCHA Situation Report No. 31

Situation Report
Originally published



- On 29 and 30 December, Government authorities in Gonaïves closed the tent sites established at Praville, Lycée Bicentenaire and Marché Bienac, which had previously been identified as transit sites.

- Surveys show that 50 percent of displaced families are staying with host families. These families are now the main beneficiaries of the Emergency Shelter Sector as well as the Protection Cluster.

- Repair/reconstruction kits and cash assistance were provided to families staying in shelters and in tent-sites in Gonaïves to facilitate the return to their homes.


Damage, needs assessments and response

1. Surveys carried out to date indicate that in the affected areas, floods (89%) caused more damage than wind (55%) while damage caused by mud remained relatively high (21%) compared to the rest of the country, with the exception of the commune of Gonaïves. More damage was reported on walls (37%) than roofs (48%).

2. Cement, technical expertise for reconstruction, tools, CGI, and wood were reported as greatly needed. Almost 40% of the surveyed indicate they would like to rebuild a similar type of house that they had prior to the tropical storms, i.e. walls in earth or timber and roof made of CGI. Over 90% of families state they do not have enough resources to start reconstruction or repair of destroyed/damaged dwellings. On average around 20% of CGI and wood could be recoverable. It is to be noted that 50% stated that they would go and look for wood on their own instead of buying imported wood. Further pressure on natural resources is to be foreseen in these communes unless those families get the opportunity to access imported wood.

3. Distribution of repair and reconstruction materials such as wood, cement and CGI are ongoing. IOM teams will monitor distributions that already took place in Marigot (South-East), Petit-Goave (West) and Marmelade (Artibonite) before planning further distributions.

Families staying with host family

4. Results of the country-wide family and host family survey for the affected areas of the regions of West, Artibonite, Grande-Anse, South, South-East, Nippes, North, North-West and Centre confirm previous trends and indicate that 50% of families are still living in host family settings, and have not been able to regain their homes four months after the hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike hit Haiti.

5. Families living in host family settings are now the main target of the Emergency Shelter Cluster (ESC) both in Gonaives and in the most affected areas in the rest of the country. Nevertheless, planned distributions of repair and reconstruction shelter kits, and direct reparations or reconstruction efforts undertaken by ESC members in the most affected areas will only allow to partially cover needs identified by local authorities. Due to the size of the repair kits, the localization of the communities to be assisted and the little financial capacities of the organizations ensuring distribution of these kits, transportation cost are becoming prohibitive. As the logistic cluster indicated that they could provide assistance only to inaccessible areas, the ESC is studying all options to reduce those costs. Providing imported wood to affected families is, indeed, a priority underlined by the first draft of the Emergency Market Mapping Analysis (EMMA) in order to prevent further pressure on already scarce timber resources in the country.

Repair and reconstruction assistance in temporary shelters, tents in Gonaives

6. In Gonaïves, based on the results of the assessment exercise that took place between 28 November and 5 December, a two-fold action plan prepared by cluster members to assist the 2,167 families living in non-school temporary shelters and tent sites to regain a home. On the one hand, home owners whose dwellings were accessible and more than 10m from the main canals were to receive repair/reconstruction kits as well as technical assistance. On the other hand, families that were tenants prior to the disaster or owners unable to regain their home - flooded area, living less than 10 m from a main city canal - are to be entitled to receive financial support to cover the cost of a one year lease. From 10 to 23 December, 1,222 families, i.e. 54% of the targeted families living in non-school temporary shelters and tent sites, received repair/half kits (735) and reconstruction/full kits (487) as well as cash to cover transportation cost for the materials received. All kits were purchased by IOM and distributed with the assistance of cluster members in three different sites of the city. The second phase of the action plan is undertaken jointly by CRS and IOM. IOM started targeting 600 families while CRS operations are targeting 400 families. To date, 502, out of the 600 families targeted by the IOM already collected their rent allowance.

7. Rapid shelter assessments (RSA) are ongoing to measure the impact of distributions. While preliminary results indicate that assisted families progressively regained their homes (home owners) or found accommodations (tenants), there is a chance that new families arrive in the shelters. Accurate numbers of this caseload and further investigation on the causes should be available soon. However, only families that were surveyed at the relevant sites during prior assessment exercises will be entitled to receive support, in line with the initial action plan agreed upon by the cluster.

8. On 28 December the direct reconstruction assistance program to the 1,222 families that received repair and reconstruction kits was initiated. A team of 72 staff trained by Habitat for Humanity in masonry and wood framing is thus providing technical assistance to these families. To date, around a hundred houses have been repaired. Despite some initial confusion due to its extent and complexity, it is now progressing smoothly and beneficiaries are expressing their gratitude towards this initiative.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.