Relief agencies point to continuing needs in Haiti’s recovery
- Year: 2010
- Length: 3:15 minutes (2.97 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
Six months after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and hundreds of millions of dollars of aid later, recovery continues throughout the country with relief organizations highlighting ongoing dire need.
In an assessment today, The Red Cross said it has spent 148 million dollars and plans to sign contracts for an additional 70 million in the next few weeks. Much of that has gone to shelter, financial recovery and health services.
In a teleconference with reporters today Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross said that the agency was launching a new program of small financial grants to Haitian families.
McGovern also said that the agency was turning to transitional shelters for hundreds of thousands in need of more permanent dwellings, but acknowledged that land rights remains an issue, where disputes have arisen in the months following the earthquake.
“The people of Haiti, as you can imagine, want to go back to where they were living. They want to go back to their communities, where they had livelihoods, where they were school systems, where they were with their neighbors and their churches, etc. so what we’re doing is a combination of a few things. As land becomes available in the outskirts of Port Au Prince transitional shelters are being built. Inside Port Au Prince, the Haitian government is going through the city and determining what buildings are habitable and can be moved right back in, which need repair and which need to be knocked down.”
McGovern also warned that tents and tarps may not be adequate for the upcoming hurricane season, but said that preparations are underway.
“One good thing about a hurricane is that you see them coming and there is time to respond so that’s why we’ve got the people of Haiti making the tented communities more prepared in terms of drainage ditches, etc, we have evacuation plans so that we can get people to higher ground and out of harm’s way using a series of cell phones and bull horns, etc. and if the tarps and tents get damaged we stand ready to replace them.”
The UN’s World Food Program says it has pre-positioned enough food to feed 1.1 million people for six weeks and has put in place a barge service to connect the country’s ports in case rain and landslides damage roads.
Doctors Without Borders also released a 6-month report today on the ongoing recovery efforts calling the situation for many Haitians “hugely precarious” with frustration growing among those disappointed with the pace of rehabilitation.
MSF Head of Mission in Haiti Stefano Zannini said that there is a “staggering gap” between early promises of aid and recovery that came in right after the earthquake and the “dire reality on the ground” six months later. The report says that while the organization’s efforts - the largest in its history - have succeeded in saving lives initially, they have yet to ease the Haitian people’s “greatest suffering.”
Photo: tent city in Port-au-Prince after the earthquake
Photo credit: K Mick