The humanitarian response continues to be strengthened in Baie d'Orange and surrounding areas, following the identification of a pocket of severe malnutrition on 28-29 October in the South-East commune of Belle Anse. On 6 November, the meeting of the Nutrition Cluster was attended by the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Joel Boutroue, as well as the country representatives of the World Food Programme, PAHO/WHO and UNICEF. The Cluster stressed the serious nature of the situation at Baie d'Orange and that the national food security context is also of great concern. The Agriculture Cluster anticipates an increase in food insecurity, mainly due damaged irrigation systems causing a lack of water to irrigate crops. United Nations agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations are closely coordinating their operational response and strengthening the response capacities of the Departmental health authorities in the South-East.
In order to identify other possible pockets of malnutrition, the Nutrition Cluster led by UNICEF highlighted the need for rapid evaluations not only in the South-East department but also in other departments of concern: Nippes, South (the coastal areas plus Aquin) and the Grande Anse. If other pockets of malnutrition are identified, health centres closest to the areas will be reinforced and corrective actions will be immediately undertaken by the International Community.
Update on relief efforts:
Protection: In Gonaïves, the main Protection issue at the moment is the planned re-opening of schools on Monday 10 November, which will result in the eviction of the displaced population from those schools. Protection Cluster members are working closely with the Shelter Cluster, including the local authorities, in developing temporary and durable solutions for those people who cannot yet return to their homes.
Shelter and Non-Food Items: Shelter needs remain critical. The exact estimates, except for those living in collective centres in Gonaives, are still pending and thousands of families are in need of assistance. Thousands more transitional shelter kits are required. While provision of temporary shelters is the topmost priority, technical assistance is needed to design transitional shelters and rebuild houses whenever possible.
The key priority in Gonaives this week was the relocation of families still sheltering in schools. Families willing to return home were provided with shelter and tools kits. 1,135 families have so far received a kit and distributions will continue over the next few days.
Increasing pressure is being brought to bear on displaced families living in other types of shelters, and the challenge remains to find alternative shelter options as quickly as possible. Distribution of return kits for families living in other types of shelters is also planned.
Food: WFP has distributed 7,121 metric tons of food to 627,803 direct beneficiaries. The total number of 1,289,568 distributed rations. To date, WFP has distributed some 4,637 metric tons of food assistance to Gonaives. As a result of a nutritional mission, WFP is discussing an intervention with Action Contre la Faim to target pregnant and lactating women as well as malnourished children under five. Through some twenty community canteens, WFP and ACF aim to target 15,000 beneficiaries per week to protect the nutritional status of the most vulnerable in Gonaives.
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.
The WFP representative, MSF and UNICEF arrived in Baie d'Orange on 4 November to set up an emergency therapeutic feeding centre for the remaining 35 severely malnourished children. (Twenty-one children presenting medical complications were evacuated to hospitals in Port-au-Prince and Les Cayes on 31 October). The Argentinean Ambassador joined the mission.
A further 10 children were evacuated by road to St Michel Hospital in Jacmel on 5 November, accompanied by a doctor from PAHO/WHO and a nutritionist from the Ministry of Health. The PAHO/WHO regional coordinator is ensuring follow-up at St Michel hospital.
PAHO/WHO and UNICEF have strengthened the provision of paediatric and nutritional care at St Michel hospital. Two nutritionists from the Ministry of Health are now based at the Jacmel hospital. PAHO/WHO have provided beds and UNICEF have provided therapeutic milk and equipments for measuring child malnutrition.
MSF and MDM are now running the temporary dispensary which was established by PAHO/WHO at Baie d'Orange. However, children needing hospital care are to be treated in Jacmel. The establishment of a permanent network for nutritional care in the South-East department will be discussed with the Ministry of Health following advice from the two Ministry nutritionists and international partners.
Four assessment teams composed of WFP field monitors, PAHO/WHO and MSF in collaboration with local medical authorities have this week carried out evaluations in 12 locations around Baie d'Orange. The evaluation is aimed at finding out if there are other pockets of severe malnutrition. Results of these assessments will be shared.
WFP staff participated in the evaluation visits to the following communities: Samarie, Bois Noir, Grand Bois, Plateau Chapel, Nan Conserve and Anse à Boeuf. WFP will further strengthen its assistance and monitoring in the area. CROSE distributed a further 9 metric tons of WFP food and over 1 metric ton of high energy biscuits to 1,795 beneficiaries in Baie d'Orange. The households were targeted prioritizing pregnant and lactating women and malnourished children under five, in order to tackle the malnutrition in the area.
Save the Children has three teams currently undertaking a 20-day nutritional survey throughout the South-East department. The first team began the survey in the Belle Anse commune (which includes the problematic area of Baie d'Orange), a second team started out at Jacmel and a third team from Cote de Fer.
For UN Agencies, it is becoming clearer that these unacceptable levels of malnutrition, with 55 severely malnourished out of some 400 children screened, is more linked to poverty traps than the emergency situation as such. In a population already affected by very high rates of poverty and chronic malnutrition, the successive shocks of high food prices and hurricanes, combined with the total lack of access to medical facilities is driving the nutritional status of vulnerable children far beyond emergency thresholds.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.