Overwhelming Majority Living in Displacement Camps

Overwhelming Majority Living in Displacement Camps
August 11, 2011 Christian Wisskirchen

Overwhelming Majority Living in Displacement Camps

Reliefweb

Haiti – An overwhelming majority of people living in more than 1,000 displacement camps in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake want to leave but do not have the financial resources to do so, according to the first major intentions survey among earthquake displaced people released today by IOM, ACTED and Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Haiti.

Luca Dall’Oglio, IOM Chief of Mission in Haiti, explains, “The intention survey debunks the notion that people are living in the camps out of choice. The survey indicates that it is extreme poverty, worsened by the earthquake which has kept hundreds of thousands of Haitians homeless for so long.”

According to IOM data, despite a sharp decrease in the camp population from some 1.5 million last year, over 600,000 Haitians still live in approximately 1,000 displacement camps scattered mostly around the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Although the camps continue to shelter Haiti’s vulnerable, they are also a serious risk factor during the hurricane season.

IOM-Haiti polled over 15,000 camp dwellers to find out why they are still there despite the discomfort and insecurity posed by living in tents or under tarps, through a cholera epidemic, and two consecutive hurricane seasons. The revealing results and associated recommendations are presented today following a collaborative effort between IOM, ACTED and CDAC.

The Intentions Survey found that 94 per cent of people living in camps would leave if they had alternative accommodation. Most of those surveyed said if they had to depart immediately, they would not have the means to pay rent or the resources to repair or replace their damaged or destroyed homes.

Closing these camps is a top priority for the Government of Haiti and the United Nations, international and local humanitarian organizations are supporting the government to find urgently needed durable solutions. The Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (ICRH) is currently reviewing President Michel Martelly’s plan to assist families living in six camps to return to 16 neighbourhoods in Port-Au-Prince.

To leave the camps, an overwhelming majority said that they need financial aid if they are to rent accommodation, or repair or rebuild their damaged houses.

Asked where they would wish to go, 17 per cent said they wished to return to their original homes, 12 per cent said they wanted to leave Port-au-Prince and go back to the countryside. Some 11 per cent said they needed more information to decide, 10 per cent said they wanted to go to a planned site, while 9 per cent were prepared to return to their own home, even if it was not repaired. Finally, 19 per cent said they had no place to go.

“This survey provides factual-based evidence of the need to communicate more and in a better way with the earthquake affected population,” says CDAC Haiti Coordinator Ben Noble. “All humanitarian partners have to better assess the information needs of these communities to be able to adapt and design relocation and return projects according to the needs and concerns expressed by displaced people.”

The survey’s analysis recommends the provision of financial aid to the displaced, the creation of more income generating activities and microcredit facilities, the prompt repair of damaged property, and the building of permanent houses and key infrastructure. A task force comprised of Government of Haiti and humanitarian partners, convened by the UN, is seeking solutions precisely along these lines.

Over the coming months, more camp residents are expected to be offered housing solutions and be encouraged to leave the camps.

The intentions survey and its subsequent analysis is a collaborative effort of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster, the Shelter Cluster, UNOPS, IOM, ACTED, CDAC Haiti and Internews. IOM Haiti carried out the surveying by telephone using numbers in IOM’s registration database that tracks the population of camps.

The report is available online at: http://www.iom.int/jahia/webdav/shared/shared/mainsite/media/docs/report

For more information, please contact Leonard Doyle at IOM Haiti, Tel: +509 370 25066, Email: Ldoyle@iom.int or Ben Noble at CDAC Haiti, Tel: +509 392 69498, Email: Coordinator@cdac-haiti.org

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