Haiti

Haiti: Earthquake Situation Report No. 5 (14 September 2021)

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published

Attachments

This report was produced by OCHA Haiti with contributions from United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programmes, nongovernmental organizations and humanitarian partners.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • As access to food and purchasing power declines, nearly 1 million people – about 45 per cent of the population – in all 4 departments in Grand-Sud will experience high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or higher) between September 2021 and February 2022, including nearly 320,000 people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), an increase of 25 per cent compared to the same period in 2020.

  • Response in rural areas, particularly on much needed livelihood inputs, is challenged by access constraints, creating potential risks for a rural exodus. Beyond the delivery of humanitarian assistance, focus must immediately be placed on scaling up early recovery and supporting livelihood activities.

  • Rapid Gender Analysis indicates 43 per cent of community leaders and 75 per cent of youth say that GBV has increased after the earthquake, while 70 per cent of women and men’s fear of sexual violence has intensified post-earthquake.

  • Around 212,000 people have lost access to safe drinking water services in the aftermath of the earthquake.

  • Gang-related activities intensifies along national road #2, threatening to once again cut off access to the southern peninsula from Port-au-Prince, while fuel shortages and insecurity disrupt the distribution of life-saving relief supplies.

800K affected people (Source: UN System in Haiti)

650K need emergency humanitarian assistance (Source: UN System in Haiti)

46% of people in need have received some kind of humanitarian assistance (Source: DGPC)

754.2K acutely foodinsecure people in the three quakeaffected departments (Source: WFP)

2.2K people dead (Source: DGPC)

137.5K+ damaged and destroyed homes (Source: DGPC)

SITUATION OVERVIEW

One month after a devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake rocked south-western Haiti on 14 August, the speed and efficiency of humanitarian relief operations continue to improve. However, as the Government and partners slowly transition to a recovery and reconstruction phase in many of the affected areas, coordinated efforts to get humanitarian assistance to those most in need continue to be hindered by a deteriorating security situation, restricted humanitarian access and limited communication with hard-to-reach communities, especially in rural areas which were most affected by the earthquake.

The conclusive report from the Haitian Civil Protection General Directorate (DGPC) found that rural areas have been much harder hit than urban centres. In the aftermath of the quake, people in rural areas are particularly vulnerable as they lack access to essential services, and their agriculture-based livelihoods have been depleted by the combined impacts of the earthquake and Tropical Depression Grace. Despite coordinated efforts by humanitarian partners, many families in the most remote hard-to-reach villages have not received assistance, due in part to persistent access and at times security challenges, as many remote areas are only accessible by motorcycle, on foot, by air or sea. This creates a potential risk of rural exodus and the creation of urban slums, given the pull factor into larger cities where response efforts have been predominantly located, as experienced in the 2016 Hurricane Matthew response. As such, a key priority in the coming weeks is to accelerate response efforts in rural areas. The restoration of basic services, particularly in health and education, is an urgent priority with the reopening of schools on 4 October in earthquake-affected areas.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Women’s Rights, in partnership with CARE and UN Women, conducted a Rapid Gender Analysis (RGA) which indicates that 43 per cent of organizations say aid distribution is poorly organized and inequitable, lacking adequate targeting. This reinforces the need to better engage communities and local organizations in response design and implementation, as well as better collection of age, sex and vulnerability-disaggregated data to better understand the needs of the most vulnerable. Targeting and distribution operations must be planned and carried out in collaboration with community-based groups and leaders, including women and women’s organizations.
Additionally, the RGA found that 41 per cent of organizations believe that a lack of information continues to be a problem for affected people, especially as it relates to accessing humanitarian aid. Ongoing dialogue with affected communities is needed to better integrate priority needs and provide critical information on available resources through multiple preferred communication channels. The RGA found that only 7 per cent of women surveyed in quake-affected areas had access to the internet.

In a humanitarian landscape characterized by accumulated unmet needs pre- and post-earthquake, critical information gaps and mounting logistics challenges, effective two-way Communication with Communities (CwC) and Accountability to Affected People (AAP) must be at the heart of response and recovery efforts. Community feedback and accountability mechanisms are essential to creating safe and participatory spaces for collaboration on programme design, transparent aid operations and gender-sensitive complaint mechanisms. Greater emphasis must be placed on community engagement and trust-building through transparent and clear communication on how to access aid and the challenges and limitations of humanitarian assistance.

Despite the negotiation of a humanitarian corridor and a supposed truce between various stakeholders and rival armed groups, escalating gang-related violence and insecurity, including groups of affected people who are frustrated with a lack of assistance, continue to disrupt the transportation of relief supplies, with the risk of the southern peninsula becoming cut off from Port-au-Prince once again. Additionally, the temporary paralysis of port activities due to gang control has created fuel shortages in southern cities. Despite a resolution between the Government and gang members on 10 September, the situation is emblematic of increasing challenges around the impact of gang activities on the functioning of critical activities in the country. The Haitian National Police continues to step up security in the most affected areas, while humanitarian partners, such as WFP, provide critical logistics solutions through air and sea transport support.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of access to appropriate WASH services among hundreds of thousands of people remains a serious concern. According to UNICEF, 212,000 people have lost access to safe drinking water as 56 piped water systems have been severely damaged and more than 1,800 have suffered minor damages. At the same time, based on a rapid assessment conducted by the Departmental Health Directorates with support from PAHO/WHO, 60 health facilities have been damaged, of which 28 have suffered severe damage.

With the upcoming planting season set to begin in October, coordinated interventions to reactivate agriculture-based livelihoods will be vital in order to avoid a further deterioration in food security and nutrition security, while emergency food assistance will continue to be a priority to protect the most vulnerable, including children under 5 and pregnant and lactating women. According to WFP, approximately 754,200 people across the three most affected departments – Grand’Anse, Nippes and Sud – are currently facing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above), including 250,923 in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), more than double the number of affected people currently targeted by food security partners. Four weeks after the quake, affected populations have expressed the pressing need to resume livelihood activities. In this regard, support should focus on equipping populations with agricultural inputs, quick rehabilitation of damaged productive infrastructures, access to micro-finance and support to existing markets so as to reduce overreliance on food distributions.

In Les Cayes and Jérémie, the price of basic foodstuffs, including local beans and sorghum, have increased 5 to 10 per cent in August compared to July, while imported oil, pasta and sugar prices rose between 5 and 15 per cent. According to WFP and FAO’s nationwide remote survey on food security, it is estimated that 64 per cent of the population in Grand’Anse, 61 in the Sud and 44 per cent in Nippes are employing crisis level food-based coping strategies. As food insecurity rises, unequal access to food and non-food item distributions has been highlighted as a critical response gap that disproportionately affects those lacking the physical strength or mobility to reach these sites as well as women forced to stay home to care for and protect their children.

As post-earthquake protection risks mount, especially those related to gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), community-based mechanisms must be accessible to survivors of violence, removing barriers that prevent them from reporting incidents and facilitating access to appropriate assistance and services. Per CARE and UN Women’s RGA, 43 per cent of community leaders and 75 per cent of youth believe that GBV has increased after the earthquake, while 70 per cent of women and men said their fear of sexual violence has intensified post-earthquake. The increasing risks of GBV and SEA, especially at assembly points which lack electricity and proper lighting, showers and toilets as well as health infrastructure, demands swift and coordinated action by all partners to avoid a tragic surge in these vicious forms of violence, as witnessed in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. The Spotlight Initiative is responding to some of those needs with national and local partners by readjusting activities to better confront the potential increase in violence against women and girls.

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