Haitian camp populations decline but hardships remain

first_img 10 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! Share Share Tweetcenter_img Share NewsRegional Haitian camp populations decline but hardships remain by: – October 1, 2011 Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos (right) meets residents of Accra camp in Haiti. UN photoPORT AU PRINCE, Haiti — The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) still in camps in Haiti after their homes were destroyed by last year’s catastrophic earthquake has declined from 1.5 million to 600,000, but hardship in the settlements has not eased, the United Nations humanitarian chief said on Friday at end of her three-day visit to the country.Valerie Amos, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, visited the Accra camp, which hosts 25,500 people in the commune of Delmas and spoke to residents, who told her that they lived in fear of eviction because they had nowhere else to go.Representatives of the camp’s women’s committee narrated their daily challenges of caring for their families in an environment where there are no job opportunities and living in cramped conditions with poor lighting that put them at risk of gender-based violence.Limited funding has led to a decline in the number of humanitarian agencies working in key sectors, such as water and sanitation and camp management. Hundreds of latrines are now unusable and overflow, especially during the current rainy season, posing significant health risks, even as efforts to keep the cholera epidemic at bay continue.“We cannot forget the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people still in camps,” said Amos, who is also the UN emergency relief coordinator. Humanitarian organizations, including UN agencies, have appealed for $382 million for relief operations in Haiti this year, but that request is only 52 percent funded.“The scale of destruction and suffering caused by the earthquake and the cholera epidemic, combined with Haiti’s high vulnerability to natural disasters, are the visible part of the iceberg. What we need is more strategic decision-making and coordination that looks at improving longer-term structural issues,” said Amos.She also visited the first ever sewage treatment centre in Haiti, which was started with initial funding from the UN-managed Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and is now run by the Haitian Water Authority with support from the UN.Cholera has claimed the lives of more than 6,300 people in Haiti, and the disease has affected an estimated 450,000 others since October last year.Amos said will be speaking to donor representatives both in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, and in New York to stress that resources were still required for humanitarian services, which should be provided simultaneously with the ongoing development and reconstruction work.Amos added that she briefly met with President Michel Martelly on Wednesday, who she said made it clear that his focus is on economic growth and creating conditions conducive for investment so that people can have job opportunities.“My sense from speaking to the president, and it was a brief meeting, is that he is frustrated because he wants investment, he wants economic growth, he wants jobs for the people, he wants development,” she said. Caribbean News Nowlast_img

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