Shelter: Planning to Fail
Tuesday, 02 March 2010 16:02
After chaos and confusions surrounding changing plans for providing shelter last week, sources on the ground say the shelter cluster has decided on a three step strategy. First, register those in the camps and if their homes are safe, ask them to return home. If this is not an option tarps will be handed out. If the camp is unsafe, or has been targeted for decongestion then those who cannot return home will be moved to different camps, although land has not yet been secured for this.
As of today, 40% of shelter needs have been covered, representing just over 500,000 people. This leaves more than 700,000 in dire need of shelter with the rainy season fast approaching, and more rain in the forecast for later this week. Yet the shelter cluster's goal is to provide one tarp per family by May 1 – possibly well after the rainy season has begun (at least 13 people were already killed in flooding over the weekend in Les Cayes).
On February 19, the European Commission Joint Research Centre did an analysis of the landslide and flood risk for all the camps as of February 16. The report concludes that:
157 IDP [Internally Displaces Persons] camps on a total of 326 are considered at some degree of risk, of which 7 are planned and priority camps.
Those 7 alone are home to nearly 100,000 people, the report points out.
The AP reported yesterday on a conference call between Bill Clinton and U.N. officials on the relief effort in Haiti. AP writes:
Bill Clinton says the needs of many Haiti earthquake survivors are not being met.
While plans originally called for tents, more recently the focus has been solely on tarps, the AP adds.
The U.N. special envoy for Haiti is urging U.N. officials to provide better shelter and sanitation for hundreds of thousands living in temporary camps at risk from floods and landslides.
Clinton's press office says he asked for more tents, latrines and hurricane-proof dwellings during a Monday phone conference with U.N. officials. He also called for strengthening job and agricultural programs.
Although high level UN officials are expressing concern, the UN, too, is falling far short of providing adequate shelter. Greenwire reports:
"We will certainly have landslides," said Edmond Mulet, the new top representative for the United Nations here. "What the earthquake did not bring down, the rains will, because all the hillsides are very fragile now."
While meanwhile a UN spokesperson told Radio Netherlands Worldwide that:
"I think the simple truth is that there are not 200,000 tents in the world that are ready to go," admits a UN spokesman. "These things need to be produced."
In contrast, just six weeks after China’s devastating 7.9 magnitude May 2008 earthquake, Xinhua reported that:
"Some 400,000 tents have been shipped to the quake-hit areas. Foreign countries had promised to donate 151,900 tents, of which 11,500 tents had been delivered."