IOM has delivered replacement tarps and new tents to families inundated by recent rains in Haiti and is continuing its efforts to minimize flooding in camps occupied by earthquake victims since 2010.
The downpours caused mudslides and floods bringing untold misery to the half million or so still homeless from the 2010 quake. "This could only be the beginning of what we fear will be a long and difficult rainy season," said IOM Haiti Chief of Mission Luca Dall'Oglio.
Many are living in homemade shelters constructed from plastic sheeting or in tents that are rotten and leaking. Many camps are continuously flooded, bringing mud, standing water and sanitation risks to the population. Life for families forced to live in these camps is uncomfortable and often unsafe.
Ahead of the rainy season and the coming hurricane season, IOM established a monitoring system for members of vigilance committees in camps. This makes camps more resilient and ensures rapid reporting of urgent needs to the humanitarian community.
The government of Haiti's Directorate of Civil Protection (DPC) also has a large team of specialists trained in camp management and emergency response who liaise with camp residents.
The size of camps in Haiti ranges from a few hundred tents and shelters to camps housing over 50,000 people. Many are located in low lying areas vulnerable to flooding and landslides.
Initial assessments over the past two days showed that 2,456 families were affected by this week's rain and 489 needed immediate help with replacement tents and tarps to make their shelters safer and waterproof.
IOM delivered 36 tents and tarps provided by the British NGO Shelterbox to families in need of immediate assistance in Te Roche camp. They were distributed by the elected president of the camp and erected by camp residents who took advantage of a respite from the rain to dry out clothing.
In other affected camps, interventions included emergency canal dredging to alleviate flooding, and distribution of materials to prevent floodwater entering tents.
"It underscores the need to speed up solutions to get these vulnerable people out of tents and into safer houses, as we are already doing in a number of camps. The half dozen camps closed under the government-led and donor-supported programme needs to be scaled up and that is going to require more funding," said Dall'Oglio.
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