Haiti: UN OCHA Humanitarian Bulletin for February

February 22, 2011

OCHA HAITI Humanitarian Bulletin (01 – 17 February 2011)
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – http://ochaonline.un.org


  • IDP (Internally Displaced Person or Refugee) return and relocation are pressing issues, as threats of camp evictions are predicted to rise.
  • Food insecurity could affect 3 million people by April/May, particularly in rural, cholera-affected areas and poor neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince.
  • Lack of proper human excreta disposal sites is hampering cholera-prevention efforts.

Evictions a growing concern

Threats of evictions from IDP camps are rising. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UN Habitat report that there are 169 camps hosting 225, 740 residents with evictions cases. Some 74 per cent of IDPs are living on private land, but as time passes landowners uncertainty about regaining their land increases. Evictions are predicted to rise exponentially, fueling ongoing displacements and “squatting strategies”.

Mayard camp expands

Mayard relocation camp is expanding, with IOM finalizing the construction of 150 semi-permanent housing units to accommodate 150 additional families within the next three months. The camp was set up to relieve IDPs‟ cramped and unsanitary living conditions in Pinchinat, a camp hosting 800 families in Jacmel, South-East department.

Since 9 August, Mayard has hosted its first 182 families in transitional housing units. The families and surrounding population receive free health-care services provided by Save the Children and the Czech Hospital set up near the camp. Through its emergency-assistance program USAID provides agricultural technology training to volunteers and sweet-potato cuttings to beneficiaries who cultivate their plots of land. The Refugee Education Trust organizes literacy programs targeting beneficiaries over 15 years old.

Mayard camp was designed to provide a minimum of 30m2 per person. This is a significant difference from the 1m2 per person at the Pinchinat camp. To mitigate flooding risks, drainage works were conducted before and after the relocation of IDPs.

Inauguration of l’Ecole nationale in Corail

L‟Ecole nationale was inaugurated on 26 January. The school is in the Corail-Sector 4 relocation site, which hosts 7,000 IDPs in Port-au-Prince. The project was funded by the Emergency Relief Response Fund, which is managed by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). A total of US$650,000 was made available to fund the project. The project includes the construction of classrooms, water and sanitation supply, and the provision of school supplies and educational materials to other schools in different camps.

The school comprises three pre-school classes and nine wheelchair-accessible primary classrooms, each with a capacity for 50 students. A total of 650 students are now enrolled, with some classes functioning with a shift system in the morning and afternoon.

The facility that houses the school was built by the United Nations Office for Project Support Services, under the supervision of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. It is designed to withstand a Category 2 hurricane (96-110km/h) and can be used as a shelter for camp residents in inclement weather.

To date, 367 semi-permanent schools have been completed or are being built. A total of 3,390 non-public schools have also benefited from the Ministry of Education's financial support program supported by the Fast Track Initiative. This aims to decrease fees in earthquake-affected schools.

UN Women helps to fight gender-based violence

To prevent and combat violence against women, UN Women granted $80,000 to two women's groups: l‟Organisation des femmes de Charette in Saint Marc and Organisation des femmes progressives de Gonaïves.  This inter-agency program aims to strengthen local organizations counseling and advocacy capacities.

A total of 65 partners in the West and South- East departments are conducting activities to deter and answer gender-based violence (GBV). GBV remains a serious concern in IDP camps and across the wider community in Haiti, as it was before the earthquake.

The Consolidated Humanitarian Appeal of $915,293,190, including for the cholera response, is only 9 per cent funded ($81,868,552).


In its February bulletin, Coordination Nationale de la Sécurité Alimentaire (CNSA) reported that the price of food, especially rice, is higher than in 2008. This trend could continue into 2011. According to CNSA and partners – including WFP and FEWSNET – over 3 million people will need food assistance in April/May, 900,000 of whom are in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. The majority of food-insecure households are mostly in poor and extremely poor areas affected by the cholera epidemic and Hurricane Tomas; in remote mountainous areas; and in camps and the poorer neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince.

In January, CNSA conducted a survey in Lower Central Plateau and Lower Artibonite, where the cholera outbreak originated. The survey highlighted that producers had reduced the amount of cultivated land due to reduced demand for rice, vegetables and seafood, and the anticipated reduced income. This will have a negative impact on food availability and food access.
The cholera outbreak has indeed led to a reduced demand for products from contaminated areas, mainly vegetables (69 per cent), seafood (38 per cent), cereals (31 per cent) and fruits (20 per cent).

The proportion of households that planted during the 2010 winter season has also declined by almost 7 per cent from the summer of 2010. This is due to the scarcity of labour, especially in areas heavily affected by cholera such as Mirebalais, Boucan Square, Verettes, Villard, Dessalines and especially Grand Saline.

According to a study conducted by the NGO ACTED: "The cholera epidemic reduces the availability of labor in the fields because laborers fear contracting the disease when working near water and farm products. With the harvest season, the unavailability of agricultural labor may then cause a decrease in the volume of crop production."

Human-waste disposal sites still lacking

The lack of proper human-excreta disposal sites in Haiti is an acute issue hampering the prevention of cholera transmission. In the absence of official sites, human waste is dumped in canals and rivers. Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) partners also report that disposal sites are overflowing in many cholera treatment centres (CTCs).

Truitier, the only waste-disposal site in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, has been reopened for a two-month period. This is pending an alternative solution for the construction of a modern wastewater treatment plant. Since February 2010, the Truitier site has been receiving between 500m3 and 900m3 of excreta per day and has reached its capacity.

Following consultation and agreement with the local population, the Directorate of Civil Protection has officially designated a new waste-disposal site for the excreta of cholera patients in Château, Grande Anse department. On 2 February, authorities conducted an information and awareness mission to increase residents‟ knowledge of hygiene- and cholera-prevention practices, and to share and answer concerns about the new waste-disposal site.

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