Internally displaced by the 2010 earthquake: Distribution of mosquito nets and awareness of vector-borne diseases at the Camp Tabarre ISA
Haiti is experiencing a new hurricane season, and recent heavy rains have flooded low land areas, overfilled the water drainage channels and left stagnant water throughout the camp Tabarre ISA, making it an ideal environment for the spread of mosquitoes and vector-borne diseases. By regularly monitoring the humanitarian situation in the displacement camps, the IOM CMO teams identifies the risks faced by the displaced populations. Today, IOM Health, Protection, Return and CMO teams distributed mosquito nets to 20 families and provided information on their use and how to effectively protect themselves from mosquitoes and the diseases they may transmit.
"You have to hang it like that and put it all around bed and underneath the mattress." Christine Vieux, WASH / IOM Return Unit Officer, speaking to a women's group "And What Next?" she begins "You have to go under one side to get into the bed and close the mosquito net so that the insects cannot come in," replies Gemilia Colin.
Gemilia is 57 years old, she has 5 children and two grandchildren. "I live with two of my children, my husband and my two grandchildren in one of the houses near the area of the camp that floods following heavy rains" she explains, clasping the mosquito she just received.
« We are a few women from the block of neighboring houses to participate in the training this morning. We learned how to properly place the mosquito net so that it is effective. We also learned how to clean and manage household waste in the camp, as well as clean the water and waste that falls into the evacuation channels. When it rains very hard, the water overflows, sometimes it rises to the door of our house", she continues on her way home.
There, she joins her husband and children. She shows Fred Standley Vincent CCCM agent at IOM in Haiti who regularly visits the camp where she intends to set up her mosquito net.
« I have been visiting the camp once a week for the past 7 years. My job is mainly to assist with the grievances, and respond to the issues on a case by case basis. The cases we deal with are primarily protection, gender-based violence (GBV), conflict between displaced persons and conflicts between displaced persons and the camp management committees. Taking into account our limitations, we provide a timely response by following up with local authorities on site. I know very well the life of the camp. Like today, we sometimes provide assistance through the distribution of materials "begins Fred.
The site of Tabarre ISA consists of small wooden houses, temporary shelters called "T-Shelter" which were meant to accommodate the displaced for only 3 years. However, seven years later, the population has built their life in the camp and within Tabarre ISA you will find: a barber, small shops, as well as two kindergartens and primary schools.
As Fred says "the biggest challenge is to calm down the frustrations. IOM is the last humanitarian actor to provide assistance to his camp. The population has a lot of expectations, which is normal. After seven years, people are starting to build walls.»
« Our advocacy is done with people of the camp but also with local authorities and government entities such as the UCLBP-Unit of Construction of Housing and Public Buildings- Unité de Construction de Logements et de Bâtiments Publics. We make the link and create dialogue between everyone. Fortunately there is dialogue and understanding on the part of all of the actors, otherwise it would be very difficult to collaborate and work. This displaced population still has hope. These people have been listening to us for seven years. They have a lot of patience, " he concluded.
Seven years is a long time, it gives time to a population to settle in a community, and create a neighborhood life. Following the distribution, we return to the IOM vehicles and meet a seven years old boy. It is hard to imagine that this child has never lived outside of this camp. Like him, of the 2,900 people in the camp of Tabarre ISA, 315 are under the age of four and 723 are between 5 and 18 years old.
Seven years after the earthquake, the number of organizations working in the camps has drastically reduced. For example, in Tabarre ISA, IOM is the only organization present on the camp. Regular monitoring of the IOM teams provides last resort solutions to the most urgent cases pending the implementation of durable solutions for the displaced populations in line with the Government's strategy.
As a result of the 2010 earthquake, today, a total of 37,867 internally displaced peoples live in 27 sites. The efforts of the Haitian government and the international community have helped to rehabilitate 97% of the population displaced by the earthquake. Since 2010, 1,528 sites have closed and more than 1.5 million people have returned or have been relocated with the support of several emergency funders.
Currently, through support from the Canadian Government, IOM is conducting relocation activities throughout Port-au-Prince metropolitan areas. However, more than seven years since the earthquake, a final effort should be made to assist the displaced population by relocating or integrating the remaining camps within neighborhoods.
Julie Harlet OIM Haiti
Photos © IOM/JulieHarlet2017