Haiti: Tropical Storm Hanna, Gustav, Ike OCHA Situation Report No. 28

Situation Report
Originally published

Humanitarian efforts continue in Baie d'Orange, in the South-East commune of Belle Anse, following the identification of a pocket of severe malnutrition on 28-29 October by Oxfam GB and Terre des Hommes.

Reports that a number of children have died at Baie d'Orange due to acute malnutrition are still being investigated by PAHO/WHO and other organisations. Meanwhile, the identification of households with medical and acute nutritional problems, in the areas from Belle Anse to Marigot in the South-East, was agreed upon as the top priority during a meeting held today between the UNICEF focal points for Nutrition and WASH, PAHO/WHO, WFP, FAO and OCHA.

Following a nutritional assessment by Terre des Hommes at Baie d'Orange, medical evacuations were carried out on 31 October for 21 acutely malnourished children. Ten of the children were evacuated by WFP helicopter to hospitals in Port-Prince and 11 by road to the therapeutic feeding centre in Les Cayes. The evacuations were organised by Terre des Hommes, Oxfam GB, MSF, MDM, WFP and PAHO/WHO.

Access to health care for the population is being provided by a temporary dispensary at Baie d'Orange. A local doctor is being supported by a Cuban mobile clinic and, since 1 November, one doctor and one nurse provided by PAHO/WHO that has in addition provided a supply of medicines for 5,000 people.

PAHO/WHO is also supporting two nutritionists from the Ministry of Health, who will spend a week evaluating needs in Jacmel and Baie d'Orange. They will discuss the feasibility of opening a therapeutic feeding centre at the General Hospital in Jacmel, which will be supported by UNICEF and PAHO/WHO.

The decapitalization of the rural population of Baie d'Orange was aggravated in August by loss of agricultural crops caused by Tropical Storms Fay and Gustav. In addition to the food insecurity, the population are unable to reach the dispensary at Belle Anse due to road access problems. Other isolated rural areas may be facing similar problems, although no alerts have been given.

Departmental authorities in the Grande Anse say that five deaths have now been confirmed following heavy rains that caused flooding in the commune of Dame Marie on 27 and 28 October. The situation is said to be precarious at Ravine Seche, with all houses reportedly destroyed and 250 people being sheltered by host families. Mouline in the commune of Corail is also said to be inaccessible, with 53 homeless people being sheltered by other families. No humanitarian assistance has been provided to date.

Update on relief efforts:

Shelter and Non-Food Items: On 3 November, the distribution of shelter kits to families who are willing to leave school shelters and return to their homes started in Gonaives. Care, IOM and local authorities are carrying out the distributions, with support from Haitian National Police and UNPOL.

Food: WFP has distributed 6,609 metric tons of food to 602,563 direct beneficiaries. The total number of distributed rations is 1,206,788. To date, WFP has distributed some 4,381 metric tons of food assistance to Gonaives, and large-scale food distributions are on-going. Over 30,000 beneficiaries received food assistance in the community of Trou Sable, where distributions were concluded on 3 November in collaboration with AMURT and Les Soeurs de la Charite.


Shelter material

The first meeting of the Shelter Technical Group took place on 3 November in Port-au-Prince. The contents of return kits for regions other than Gonaïves, as well as distribution methods, were due to be finalized today and the results will be shared accordingly.

CHF and Habitat for Humanity have joined the Shelter Technical Group. Their participation will contribute to ensure continuity between emergency, transitional and early recovery shelter solutions for affected families in Haiti.

The IFRC/Haitian Red Cross is currently distributing around 875 shelter kits (2 tarpaulins, rope, ties and 1 tool kit) to affected families in the communes of Grande Saline, Desdunes and Saint-Marc in the Artibonite department. Further shelter kit distributions are also planned in Lower Artibonite this week, in the communes of l'Estère (350) and Dessalines (300). The IFRC is currently studying the possibility of starting similar distributions in the commune of Cabaret (West department).

Nevertheless, there are still very significant needs for shelter material, due to the fact that few agencies are involved in the sector at field level.

Families and host families survey

The national survey to assess needs of families and host families in affected areas started on Monday and should last for two weeks. A slight delay is expected for the commune of Gonaives. Cluster partners who are conducting the survey in the Grande Anse department are asked to pay special attention to the commune of Dame Marie, following the heavy rains which affected this area during the previous week.


Return kits distribution in shelters

A joint assessment of schools used as shelters took in Gonaives place on 25 October1, following the decision taken at local level to request the displaced to leave so that schools could re-open on 10 November. Based on the results of this assessment, the distribution of kits started on 3 November to families who are willing and able2 to return safely to their homes.

The Departmental Emergency Operations Centre (COUD) distributed coupons to the first group of beneficiaries on the day before the distribution. 396 families from three different schools were given an appointment, at a different time, to pick up their return kit3. Distribution is taking place at the Haitian National Police (HNP) compound. Security is ensured by HNP and UNPOL. Care, IOM and local authorities are carrying out the distribution. The content of the return kit is as follows:

1. IOM shelter kit: One 4m x 5m HDPE woven reinforced tarpaulin, 12 meters of rope, 2 3ft. X 6ft. polypropylene sleeping mats, 5 6' x 32" x .36 CGI sheets, 1 24" Handsaw, 1 Hammer Claw, 2 pounds of 2" Nail with head, 1 Cement Trowel 8", 1 Shovel, with wooden handle.

2. GoH shelter kit: 1 mattress, 1 sleeping bag, 1 jerry can, 1 blanket, 1 hygiene kit and 1,000gdes (27 USD).

No incident was reported during this first wave of distribution; general satisfaction was reported from organizers and beneficiaries. The distribution is planned to continue at a similar pace until Wednesday. On Thursday a follow-up assessment will take place in targeted school/shelters to identify shelter solutions for the remaining families.

Furthermore, the IFRC/Haitian Red Cross is also planning to distribute around 500 shelter kits and 900 family kits in the commune of Gonaives, in coordination with Cluster partners. Important efforts are made by Cluster members and OCHA to ensure that a coordinated policy is implemented with regards to an exit strategy in Gonaives, and asks all agencies to inform the cluster of their activities in shelters. Uncoordinated actions at this point might engender tension in the communities.


Non-Food Items distribution efforts are being strengthened in the South-East department where PADF, Grap Marigot and ACDI/VOCA carried out distributions over the weekend.

In Gonaives, IOM gave 12 tents to Save the Children to set up child-friendly spaces next to temporary shelters in Praville, Chanflot, Desonftaine and Gattereau. Between 2,000 and 5,000 children will benefit from psychosocial support, mainly through games, which is intended to build their resilience to the post-disaster environment.

In order to facilitate access to water points in Gonaives, IOM has provided Hands on Disaster with 200 water gallons for distribution to families living in the Ebenezer tent site, which is located 3km away from the city.

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