Response Toolkit Will Help Haiti Cope with Future Disasters

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A compilation of four years of lessons learned and best practices in emergency shelter response entitled: Disaster Response: Emergency Shelter, Housing and Sites. A Toolkit of Lessons Learned, Experiences and Practices, has been published in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

Jointly developed by Haiti’s national disaster response authorities and the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) / Shelter Cluster, led by IOM, the publication was funded by the United States Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

It brings together best practices identified by the Government of Haiti, through the Directorate of Civil Protection, the Haitian Red Cross, and national and international aid agencies, relating to camps, registration and shelter in the aftermath of an emergency, especially regarding internal displacement.

“The experiences, tools and lessons learned identified in the publication will ensure a smooth transition of cluster activities to the Haitian authorities. But they will also be valuable in the event of another disaster involving massive displacement and destruction of housing,” said IOM Haiti Chief of Mission Gregoire Goodstein.

The report marks a significant step towards the integration of natural disaster-induced displacement into preventive response planning and early recovery humanitarian actions, highlighting the importance of coordinated assistance and standardized response in the 72 hours after a natural disaster.

Since the devastating 12 January 2010 earthquake that left more than 1.5 million displaced people throughout the country, the CCCM / Shelter Cluster has been supporting efforts directed at helping internally displaced people and leading capacity-building initiatives in the areas of coordination, information management, and preparedness and response.

The Cluster also supported people affected by storms in 2012, including Hurricane Sandy, which destroyed over 6,000 houses and displaced over 5,800 families already living in post-earthquake camps.

Although top forecasters are predicting a quiet 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, with an estimated nine tropical storms and only three hurricanes, Haitians remain highly vulnerable to natural disasters, with some 137,500 people still living in camps.

IOM has been the lead agency for the CCCM Cluster since the January 2010 earthquake and for the combined Emergency Shelter and CCCM Cluster since September 2011.

The report is available in French


Haiti is one of the most vulnerable countries to natural disasters. In addition to the 12 January 2010 earthquake, which led to the displacement of more than 1.5 million persons, the country frequently experiences severe flooding and hurricanes. As a result, both national and international actors have repeatedly implemented large-scale humanitarian and shelter responses over the past four years, which provided them with the opportunity to develop a substantial collection of lessons learned and best practices in the Haitian context.

Considering the country’s vulnerability, the likelihood of future natural-disasters-induced displacement necessitating humanitarian response is high. This toolkit has compiled these lessons learned into a document that could be used as reference by Government authorities and humanitarian agencies alike in the frame of potential future responses.

Through the CCCM/Shelter Cluster, IOM and its partners have increased preparedness and response capacities in direct risk response in Haiti. In addition to coordinating services for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and promoting durable solutions for earthquake-affected populations still living in camps, and as part of the transition of the CCCM/Shelter Cluster to national authorities, IOM is providing support to the Government of Haiti in information management, sensitization and preparedness for at-risk populations, contingency planning, registration of IDPs, non-food items and emergency shelter distributions. This includes trainings, support to the reinforcement of the evacuation system, community-based-disaster risk reduction programs, and other related activities.

IOM applies this approach both at the institutional and operational levels, providing support to its national counterparts before, during and immediately following an emergency.

Rafaelle Robelin CCCM/Shelter Cluster, Haiti

For more information, please contact Ilaria Lanzoni at IOM Haiti. Email: ilanzoni@iom.int, Tel. +509 3702-5066.