Haiti - IOM and its partners distribute family return kits

Families returning home from temporary shelters this week received return kits to rebuild homes damaged or destroyed by the four hurricanes and tropical storms that hit Haiti in late August and early September.

Working in close partnership with CARE, UNOCHA and Haiti's Civil Protection Department and the Ministry of Social Affairs, IOM this week distributed return kits to more than 1,000 families.

The IOM return kits include tool sets, tarpaulins, corrugated iron sheets, and sleeping mats. As part of the return kits, the government of Haiti and CARE are providing mattresses, sleeping bags, jerry cans, hygiene kits and 1,000 Haitian Gourde (approximately US$26).

At the beginning of this week, some 3,000 families were still living in temporary shelters in Gonaives, including some 2,000 in schools.

IOM is focusing its efforts on families living in schools so that schools can reopen as soon as possible.

A survey conducted by IOM at the schools to determine which families would be able to return home based on the level of damage sustained to houses and accessibility of the area, determined that some 60 per cent could return to their places of origin.

"After we finish going to all schools being used as shelters, IOM will continue to help all families who are able and willing to return home. IOM is also improving living conditions at makeshift shelter sites, and will provide support to those who lost their homes and need to be relocated," explains Vincent Houver, IOM Chief of Mission in Haiti.

The distribution of the return kits will continue as families leave the temporary shelters and return to repair their homes.

At the government's request, IOM is carrying out site planning for several potential relocation sites in Gonaives, as well as assessments for the rehabilitation of schools.

As part of ongoing early recovery initiatives carried out in partnership with the UN Development Programme, 800 people have been employed for the clean-up efforts.

With funding from international donors IOM has been providing non-food items to thousands of people living in shelters. These include plastic sheeting, hygiene and kitchen kits and other household items for upwards of 25,000 families. IOM remains concerned by the vulnerable situation of those affected by the natural disasters, particularly in rural areas, where cases of malnutrition have multiplied.

IOM has appealed for US$ 13 million as part of the UN Flash Appeal. To date, contributions totaling about US$5.6 million have been received from USAID's Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the governments of Greece, Japan and Spain, the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund, UNDP and UNOCHA.

For more information, please contact Frislain Isidor, IOM Haiti, email: fisidor@iom.int Tel: +509 605 6004.