President René Préval today held a meeting between the Government and the International Community working in Gonaives to discuss the response to the ongoing humanitarian situation. The meeting took place at the National Palace and was chaired by the Prime Minister, Mrs. Michelle Pierre-Louis, in the presence of several Ministers, the Senator for the Artibonite Department Mr. Youri Latortue, the Civil Protection Director, the Artibonite Delegate and the Mayor of Gonaives. The Resident Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Joel Boutroue, attended the meeting as well as his representative in Gonaives and members of the international community who are working in the flood-affected city.
The conclusions of the meeting were that measures would be taken to strengthen the coordination between Haitian authorities and the International Community. The Government is to designate two Focal Points, one based in Gonaives and one in Port-au-Prince. A Shelter Commission is to be created in Gonaives by enlarging the Shelter Cluster to include local authorities and technicians. An Action Plan is to be developed in order to find short and medium-term solutions for about 800 displaced families who are still sheltering in schools and cannot return to their homes. One possible relocation site is at Hatte-Rocher, near the new port, which covers 25 hectares and could accommodate up to 10,000 families. Discussions are ongoing with the authorities regarding the suitability of this site.
The Representative of the Humanitarian Coordinator in Gonaives told the meeting that the efforts of the international community are being well-coordinated in Gonaives. For example, in a one-month period, water production levels have reached 75 per cent of the city's pre-hurricane water production capacity. Moreover, PAHO/WHO is planning a program to clean private wells, which provided 80 per cent of the city's water needs before the floods. Since one month, 15,000 people are employed in clean-up efforts organized by the International Community in Gonaives.
Four people are reported to have died in the Commune of Dame Marie in the Grande Anse department, following heavy rains on 28 and 29 October. The worst-affected areas are the town of Dame Marie, where waters rose to waist height, and the 3rd communal section of Ravine Sèche, where two of the deaths were confirmed. An important number of houses were destroyed and livestock swept away. Departmental authorities and MINUSTAH carried out an evaluation mission today, and the Delegate has released money to buy food and drinking water. Further isolated storms and rain are forecast for today and tomorrow, and populations are asked to remain vigilant. As of 30 October, contributions and pledges to the Flash Appeal have reached 48 per cent of total requirements. The revised Flash Appeal requirements amount to USD 105,658,433, of which USD 50,217,525 has now been contributed / pledged.
Update on relief efforts:
Nutrition: Urgent humanitarian efforts are underway in Baie d'Orange, in the South-East commune of Belle Anse, following the identification of an important number of severely malnourished children. Terre des Hommes have carried out a rapid evaluation and in two days have identified 31 cases of severe malnutrition. The eight most severe cases were evacuated today by WFP helicopter to Port-au-Prince.
Shelter and Non-Food Items: Several thousands of families in Gonaives are still living in shelters with basic conditions and at risk of being evicted at any time, in particular from schools; many more are being sheltered by host families. The restart of school activities is scheduled for 10 November.
Urgent humanitarian efforts are underway in Baie d'Orange, in the South-East commune of Belle Anse, following the identification by Oxfam GB and Terre des Hommes on 28/29 October of a new pocket of severe malnutrition According to Oxfam GB, 10 children have already died due to malnutrition and PAHO/WHO is currently investigating.
Terre des Hommes have carried out a rapid evaluation and in two days have identified 31 cases of severe malnutrition. Today, 31 October, WFP/Logcluster assisted in a humanitarian mission with a WFP helicopter for the medical evacuation of eight severely malnourished children with medical complications from Baie d'Orange to Port-au-Prince. A doctor from MSF participated in the mission. Médecins du Monde/Canada coordinated the medical care of the evacuated children upon arrival to the capital. The remaining children need therapeutic treatment, their health situation is to be confirmed.
Also today, three WFP 6x6 trucks deployed in the South-East delivered 12 metric tons of food aid from Jacmel to Baie d'Orange.
The communal section of Baie d'Orange has been truly isolated since one month and the situation seems linked to the interruption in health care since the destruction of the road leading to the dispensary at Belle Anse. According to PAHO/WHO, there are two immediate problems: - the possibility of therapeutic treatment at Jacmel for the other children; - access to health care for the general population of Baie d'Orange.
The health response is as follows;
- PAHO/WHO is to set up a temporary dispensary in the school at Baie d'Orange, in partnership with two doctors provided by the Ministry of Health. PAHO/OMS will provide a doctor, a nurse, one kit 5,000 and one 2.5 kw generator, to arrive on 1st November.
- Reinforcement of the nutritional evaluation capacity. PAHO/WHO will fund two Ministry of Health nutritionists for one week, based at Baie d'Orange or Jacmel as required. They will arrive on 3 November.
- Strengthening of the paediatric capacity of Jacmel hospital if transfers need to be made there: PAHO/WHO will in principle agree to financial and logistical support.
According to ECHO, Oxfam GB is already using funds from the ECHO Food Aid grant (nutritional component) to respond. Health staff who have been trained in nutritional recovery by the grant have been brought to Baie d'Orange. Terre des Hommes are also providing on-site treatment.
Other communities with similar access difficulties exist and it is important that a nutritional survey be carried out in the Belle Anse commune.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.