Haiti: Aid is still a challenge

A woman walks past a collapsed building in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance

PWRDF is a member of the ACT Alliance, who issued this situation update on January 25, 2010.
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — Information from Rapid Support Team

  • Carlos Rauda is the new RST coordinator after Elsa Moreno.
  • Paul Jeffrey left on Wednesday.
  • Chris Herlinger, journalist, seconded by CWS will stay for ten days.
  • Nils Carstensen, seconded by DCA, is coming the 5/2.

General information on the ACT Alliance response
At the moment, 12 ACT members are participating in the relief efforts in Haiti. They are:
Christian Aid (CA)*, Church World Service (CWS)*, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH)*, Lutheran World Federation (LWF)*, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA)*, Church of Sweden, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), DanChurch Aid (DCA), Finn Church Aid (FCA), ICCO, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), Lutheran World Relief (LWR).  *All these members will be included in the ACT appeal as requesting members
In the Dominican Republic: Christian Aid (CA), Church World Service (CWS), together with their partner SSID are responding.
LWF is the current ACT forum coordinator and as such, together with the RST and the other ACT members, is ensuring that the overall ACT response promotes an efficient use of resources through maximizing synergies and avoiding overlaps. It is also working to ensure accountability toward the recipient population and organizations and individuals providing funds.
General situation
According to the ELCA Situation Report, the latest figures indicate 112,392 deaths, 196,501 injured, with 1 million homeless. Food aid and shelter are still in high demand, despite the many distributions already taking place. Airports and water ports capacities are overloaded with supplies, in particular because of transport and security issues, which complicate the distribution process. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is reporting that nearly 300,000 people have left earthquake-affected areas, migrating north and west in search of shelter and material resources.

Background — UN reports
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is in the second day of a major operation to provide rice to some 2 million Haitians over the next two weeks.

The program, launched yesterday, provides women with colored and dated vouchers that can be exchanged for a 25-kilogram (55-pound) rice ration at one of 16 centers in Port-au-Prince. So far, some 100,000 people picked up their rations, nearly all of them women.

But, even in safer areas, armed national Haitian police work alongside military troops from MINUSTAH, and from Canada and the United States to maintain order at the food distribution centers and to protect food trucks.

The United Nations has requested 700 million dollars for the reactivation of the agricultural sector, which was severely hit by the earthquake. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, aims to boost agriculture and food production while at the same time creating job opportunities for the Haitian population.

ACT Member Response

A team of four seconded by Church of Sweden to LWF is arriving on Wednesday to Port-au-Prince. They will assess and provide psychosocial support to all ACT members’ staff and provide training on community based psychosocial support. The psychosocial intervention is to be included in both crisis and recovery interventions.
NCA reports that unaccompanied children are becoming a huge issue — in particular at the border — since they risk being taken out of the country. UNICEF is putting in a phone line and email system  to inform what to do with unaccompanied children. Save the Children is putting together child friendly spaces.

Early Recovery
Christian Aid reports that the focus is currently on Cash for Work. Rules for use and amounts are being set up by the government.

LWF and ELCA are working together in the establishment of IDP camps for an initial 19,000 individuals in Petionville, Gressier, Leogane, Ti Goave and Thiotte.

The current recommendation is to use a cash and cash for work approach to prevent the market from collapsing.

The humanitarian cluster for health reported on January 28th that the number of diarrhoea cases is on the rise. There are also suspected cases of tetanus, measles and dysentery.

FCA, LWF and the Episcopal Church in Haiti are submitting a proposal as implementing partners to UN’s ERRF to provide education for 10,000 children in Leogane and provide psychosocial support to teachers.

LWF reports that environmental problems need to be taken into account due to the growing number of IDP camps that are being established.

Disaster Risk Reduction
Christian Aid are coordinating Disaster Risk Reduction activities and will provide assistance to ACT members as needed. One of the interventions suggested is to assist the communities in linking with the local government authorities in order to use the national disaster prevention system already in place.

Specific Reports from Some Members
ELCA continues to send food aid to Haiti and to respond to the homeless, while in Florida, it continues responding to the needs of returning Haitians.

IOCC has sent a shipment of pharmaceutical and hospital supplies from Medical Teams International (MIT), for a total value of more than $1 million USD.

The Council of Latin American Churches (CLAI) is calling a meeting on Wednesday in Santo Domingo to develop ecumenical support to the response of ACT members to the Haiti earthquake.

ACT Alliance – Action by Churches Together is a global alliance of churches and related agencies working together for positive and sustainable change in the lives of people affected by emergencies, poverty and injustice through coordinated and effective humanitarian, development and advocacy work.

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