IOM Haiti’s Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Disaster Risk Management (DRM) programme is designed to prepare for and respond to potential disasters in the near term as well as reduce the risk faced by the Haitian population to potential disasters in the future.
All activities are conducted in the context of capacity building of state authorities, including the Direction de la Protection Civile (DPC) at the national level and local authorities at the commune and neighbourhood levels. IOM’s DRR activities are conducted in IDP camps, surrounding urban communities and rural areas.
IOM uses both tried and tested methodologies as well as high-tech tools such as aerial imagery and geographic information system (GIS). IOM DRR and DRM activities include:
· Physical risk prevention and mitigation;
· Short-term evacuation infrastructure, systems and capacity building;
· Community-based disaster risk reduction; and
· Emergency preparedness and response.
Physical Risk Prevention and Mitigation
Recognizing the severe environmental hazards present in Haiti, IOM’s approach to physical risk mitigation integrates essential mitigation, drainage, reforestation and watershed management activities.
Since 2004, IOM has undertaken the following activities in order to help reverse the effects of deforestation and to reduce flooding in low-lying areas:
- Excavation de 470,814 linear meters of micro basins;
- Plantation of mini energy forest and fruit trees
- Constructed or rehabilitated 17,000 linear meters of drainage canals.
Since 2011, IOM has undertaking large-scale flood mitigation projects in both urban and rural areas. These projects include analysis using high-resolution aerial imagery, sophisticated hydrological modeling and support to local authorities and community groups in the execution of ravine treatment, reforestation, soil conservation, support to agriculture in mountain areas, and related activities.
Short-term evacuation infrastructure, systems and capacity building
Recognizing that not all short-term physical risks can be mitigated, IOM work closely with DPC to improve the network of evacuation shelters around the country as well as to reinforce the Government’s capacities and policies in terms of evacuation and shelter management.
Guide on Emergency Evacuation Shelter Management
In support to the DPC, IOM assisted in the creation of an Evacuation Shelter Management Guide. The guide created a national policy on short-term evacuations, covering preparation, pre-evacuation, evacuation and post-evacuation stages. The Government of Haiti officially adopted the Guide in 2012, and was subsequently updated in 2013.
Structural Evaluation and Mapping of Shelters
Following the 2010 earthquake, the DPC, Ministère des Travaux Publics, Transports et Communications (MTPTC); Ministère des Affaires Sociales et du Travail (MAST); World Bank, IOM and other partners conducted structural evaluations of more than 500 public buildings to determine their usability as evacuation shelters.
In addition, IOM supported the DPC conduct a national mapping of evacuation sites in order to establish the country’s first-ever “master list” of Evacuation shelters. Currently, the DPC in collaboration with IOM is in the process of updating the evacuation shelter “master list” as well as conducting functional assessment of the priority shelters used in the most vulnerable communities.
In 2011, the DPC, Ministère de l'Education Nationale et de la Formation Professionnelle, UNICEF/Education cluster and IOM reached a policy compromise to use schools as Emergency Evacuation Shelters. The policy includes measures to protect educational infrastructure and the right to education (as well as strategies for preparing the sites, protecting key assets, closure of the shelters, etc.). Through the aim of reinforcing the capacity of Emergency Evacuation Shelters, IOM has constructed five auditoriums in schools as well as of nine new shelters and rehabilitated 25 others.
Support to the Thematic Committee on Evacuations and Shelter Management (CTEGAP)
In 2011, IOM supported the re-launch and functioning of the GoH Technical group on Evacuation Shelter Management (CTEGAP). The CTEGAP aims to develop policies and standards related to evacuations and evacuation shelter management, as well as to coordinate the activities of actors working in the domain. IOM supported the establishment of the decentralized sub-CTEGAP Coordination cells within the ten departmental Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs). Moreover with the support of IOM, the CTEGAP has developed Training of Trainers (ToT) curriculums for 4 thematics including: Evacuation Shelter Management, Internal Displacement Management (CCCM), Warehouse and NFIs Management and Information Management. Through the ToT activities a total of 91 DPC master trainers are located around the country. In addition, IOM in cooperation with the CTEGAP has conducted a variety of trainings and held numerous conferences for the DPC, Haitian Red Cross, local authorities, and Civil Society members involved in evacuations and shelter management.
Emergency Preparedness and Response
IOM supports the DPC to reinforce short-term evacuations, rapid response mitigation interventions, rapid needs assessments and NFIs distributions. Prior to the passage of Hurricane Matthew on October 4th 2016, IOM deployed field staff to Jeremie and Les Cayes as well as prepositioned NFIs for 8,000 households. Due to the emergency of the situation and the multitude of needs, IOM assisted in the assignment of DPC shelter managers, conducted needs assessment of the vulnerable population hosted in the emergency shelters and distributed essential NFIs.
Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction
In coordination with the DPC, local authorities and the communities, IOM DRR has over 30 trainers- many of whom are first-aid certified. At present, IOM has four primary training modules: camp- based disaster risk management (Vigilance Committees), community & schools first aid and DRM, small scale mitigation and evacuation shelter management.
Since 2011, IOM has trained more than 20,000 people on basic first aid and community or camp-based DRM. Each training is accompanied by the distribution of a mitigation tool kit which includes shovels, wheel barrows, etc.), community First Aid kits, or disaster management toolkits for camps (flags for early warning system, megaphone, raincoats, boots, etc.)
In order to raise the awareness of vulnerable population and reduce the risks and vulnerabilities to natural disasters, IOM DRR has created and disseminated numerous radio programs as well as three issues of Chimen Lakay (popular Creole-language illustrated newspaper) on disaster risk management, fire safety and evacuations, good watershed management practices and mountain agriculture.
Finally, IOM Haiti has developed a community risk mapping methodology which combines elements of community engagement, field-level data collection and sophisticated risk analysis (LIDAR and high-resolution imagery and digital elevation modeling, etc.) to produce community risk and resource maps.
IOM’s Proposed Action
IOM aims to strengthen the capacities of the Government and the Haitian population to mitigate the impact of natural hazards, foster socio-economic opportunities and reinforce access to basic services. IOM’s priority interventions include:
- Strengthen environmental and socio-economic resilience of rural communities in Grand’Anse, South, and South East departments by implementing watershed flood mitigation works, reforestation activities and promoting sustainable agriculture practices.
- Strengthen the capacity of vulnerable community groups, schools and relevant Government of Haiti entities to prepare for and respond to disaster- related emergencies.
- Enhance the capacities of the Haitian Government in terms of disaster risk reduction, preparedness and response through the creation of additional evacuation space for vulnerable populations in case of a storm