Haiti earthquake: more help for people in camps and unaccompanied children
04-02-2010 Operational Update
More than three weeks after the earthquake struck Haiti, international aid is reaching more and more survivors. The ICRC is focusing on helping the most destitute people in camps in Port-au-Prince, and on ensuring that unaccompanied children are cared for.
Together with the Haitian National Red Cross Society, the ICRC has opened three new first-aid posts in the Canapé-Vert neighbourhood, near several makeshift camps where over 10,000 people who lost their homes are now living. Altogether, there are now eight such posts in and around Port-au-Prince, and two more in Petit-Goâve, a town some 70 kilometres south-west of the capital. The 10 first-aid posts have together provided treatment for over 2,400 people, 207 of whom were referred to hospitals and clinics for further treatment.
The ICRC continues to provide clean water for over 16,000 people living in three camps and in the Cité-Soleil neighbourhood. In January alone, over one million litres of clean water were supplied through nine different distribution points in the city. In Cité-Soleil, the biggest shantytown with over 200,000 inhabitants, ICRC engineers helped the water board to repair three major pipeline leaks. The repairs will considerably enhance access to water in the destitute neighbourhood.
Since the earthquake struck, the ICRC has distributed blankets, tarpaulins, mosquito nets, soap and jerrycans to over 5,000 people in several camps. More distributions of food and other essential items will get under way in the coming days.
The ICRC is working closely with the Haitian Red Cross. The international Red Cross and Red Crescent relief effort is being coordinated and led by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. For more details on the overall Red Cross Red Crescent response to the earthquake, please visit the Federation website at www.ifrc.org
Helping re-establish family ties outside the capital
In Port-au-Prince, radio stations continue to promote joint ICRC/Haitian Red Cross services helping people re-establish contact with family members and search for loved ones. In addition, radio broadcasts have started announcing the names of people transferred to the Dominican Republic for medical reasons. At two internet cafés, residents can post "safe and well" messages or launch a search request on the ICRC's family links site ( www.icrc.org/familylinks ). The site currently lists over 26,300 names, including some 3,600 of people reporting that they are alive and safe.
As fewer people living in camps in Port-au-Prince are requesting the services of mobile ICRC/Haitian Red Cross tracing teams to contact family members living abroad, those teams will deploy in the coming days to areas to the west and north such as Petit-Goâve, Mirebalais, Gonaïves and Cap-Haitïen, where tens of thousands of people from Port-au-Prince have moved. In the capital, people who want to call their loved ones will still be able to do so at sites manned by Red Cross teams in neighbourhoods such as Delmas, Carrefour and Pétionville.
Caring for unaccompanied children
ICRC and Haitian Red Cross tracing teams, working in close cooperation with the authorities, other agencies, interim care facilities and foster families, continue to look for unaccompanied children. The teams have brought five unaccompanied children to a child-care institution recognized by UNICEF, and are actively seeking to reunite seven others in the Champs-de-Mars and Carrefour neighbourhoods with relatives or to find alternative solutions for them. In addition, the ICRC has provided food rations for the next two weeks for 65 formerly unaccompanied children now placed in care.
Food for detainees
Over the past few days, ICRC delegates have visited a number of police stations, where dozens of detainees are waiting to be transferred to a prison capable of receiving them. A major problem faced by people behind bars in many parts of Haiti is the lack of food. To ease the situation, the ICRC has delivered medical supplies and enough food to cover the needs of up to 4,000 inmates for two weeks to the national prison authority. In addition, delegates have assessed conditions in the prison of Cap-Haitïen, where some 400 inmates are held, and found that the problem of obtaining clean water there was about to be solved with the repair of a water pump.
Jean Jacob Charles, ICRC Port-au-Prince, mobile: +509 3458 4186, satellite: +88 165 146 6175
Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 58 or +41 79 217 32 24