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Home Publications Blogs Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch Haitian Government Abruptly Changes Course on Shelter Plan

Haitian Government Abruptly Changes Course on Shelter Plan

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Thursday, 25 February 2010 13:37
CNN reports that after weeks of planning “tent cities” to house earthquake survivors who lost their homes, the Haitian government is adopting an entirely new strategy. The new plan
revolves around registering residents of the camps and determining whether their homes can be rebuilt.
"If the home has been damaged, teams will be sent to remove the rubble, or a structural engineer will be sent to see if it can be fixed," said Mark Turner, spokesman for the Organization of International Migration, which is assisting in the effort.

If their homes can be repaired or rebuilt, tent city residents will be sent home to get to work. Where rebuilding is impossible, the government will encourage those in temporary settlements to move in with relatives or friends.
The effort represents a turnabout from the Haitian government's earlier strategy of building mass camps for those who lost homes in the January 12 earthquake.

More details on the International Organization for Migration's plan here.

This could be a response to what the “Shelter Cluster” – the grouping of foreign government agencies and NGO’s coordinating efforts to provide temporary shelter – says are the main obstacles to providing emergency shelter to quake survivors. “The lack of identified land is the dominating issue for shelter,” the Shelter Cluster states in a Google doc, and “Movement of beneficiaries between spontaneous sites creates difficulties for agencies to plan for distribution.”

The UN and the Shelter Cluster have made clear their low expectations for providing adequate emergency shelter in time. Anthony Banbury, Acting Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General at the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), told reporters yesterday

that while plans are underway to provide more than one million homeless people with some form of shelter and sanitation, not everyone will have “good shelter” or “good sanitation” before the heavy rains start.
The UN notes that
More than 66,000 families (330,000 people) have received emergency shelter materials, about 30 per cent of the estimated need.

[Banbury] praised the UN response effort as “truly impressive” given the challenges, and said that the expectation that “people were just going to be housed overnight” was beyond the scope of any group or organization.
In this case, “overnight” could be taken to mean anything shorter than the months until May 1, which is the Shelter Cluster’s working deadline by which to complete distribution of the emergency shelter materials. CNN notes that the rainy season “could start as soon as mid-March.”

Tags: aid distribution | iom | rainy season | shelter | UN

 

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