Plans underway to establish settlement for some of Haiti's displaced

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Haiti - With large numbers of people displaced in earthquake-affected Haiti and logistical constraints hampering the distribution of aid to victims, plans are now underway to establish a large temporary settlement that would both provide shelter for the homeless and facilitate comprehensive aid delivery.

The scale of the damage has imposed severe constraints on delivering food, non-food, medical, water and sanitation assistance to hundreds of thousands of people in urgent need.

IOM, which is coordinating the shelter and non-food emergency relief that it and other humanitarian actors are providing, is working with the Haitian government and other partners to identify possible sites.

A technical assessment mission was carried out on 17 January by IOM, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and Haitian government officials at Croix des Bouquets, about 13 kilometres northeast of Port-au-Prince, to gauge its suitability as a possible location for a settlement. Further assessments will be carried out today with the aim of not just setting up a temporary settlement but also to begin construction of new houses with funding from the IADB.

"The initial idea is to move an estimated 100,000 displaced individuals to this site, to get people out of the most dangerous areas," explains Vincent Houver, IOM Chief of Mission in Haiti. "But wherever possible, IOM advocates for smaller sized settlements," Houver adds.

There are an estimated three million affected individuals throughout the country and a large majority of spontaneous settlements established in hazardous conditions.

The large settlement approach, agreed to by the Haitian government, will require extensive support from the international donor community.

Meanwhile, IOM and partners that include Haiti's Civil Protection Department and the Ministry of Social Affairs, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, (IFRC), Concern Worldwide, CRS, Save the Children, OXFAM, ACTED, CARE, UN-HABITAT, are working round the clock to provide immediate support to an estimated one million people. Assistance includes the repair and cleaning of temporary shelters and damaged private houses, and the provision of non-food items.

Today, kitchen kits and bottled water, the priority need among victims, will be distributed at various locations in the capital today.

Yesterday, IOM distributed hygiene kits at Parc la Primature and Villa Créole to several thousands of people. It followed several distributions since 15 January of tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, jerry cans, bladders, and some shelter material in Port-au-Prince taken from IOM's pre-positioned stocks in the country.

Further distributions were carried out at Jacquemel, to the south of the capital, where scores of houses and buildings were also reduced to rubble.

An IOM team is also assessing needs in the town of Petit Goâve, a coastal town 68 kilometres south of Port-au-Prince and which too was severely damaged by the earthquake.

With many people leaving the capital to seek shelter in other parts of the country, and following assessments in places like Petit Goâve, IOM and partners will carry out further distributions outside of Port-au-Prince shortly.

However, IOM's stocks of pre-positioned non-food items are decreasing rapidly. Despite taking delivery of thousands of hygiene kits, ten-litre water containers, kitchen sets, two mobile water treatment units, tents and cots from the US government's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and USAID at the weekend, much more is needed quickly to meet needs.

IOM requested an initial US$30 million last week as part of the UN's Consolidated Flash Appeal to provide shelter and non-food assistance. So far IOM has received US$ 7 million from OFDA/USAID, US$ 1.2 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and US$50,000 from Argos Cement Company of Colombia. However, as the situation evolves, the Organization will be revising its appeal.

Private donations can be made to IOM through the IOM website at www.iom.int and in the United States at http://www.usaim.org/PROJECTHaiti.asp

For further information, please contact:

Jean Philippe Chauzy

IOM Geneva

Tel: + 41 22 717 9361

+ 41 79 285 4366

Email: pchauzy@iom.int


Jemini Pandya

IOM Geneva

Tel: + 41 22 717 9486

+ 41 79 217 3374

Email: jpandya@iom.int

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