Haiti: hundreds of thousands still heavily dependent on aid
12-04-2010 Operational Update
Three months on, living conditions remain difficult for hundreds of thousands of displaced people in Port-au-Prince, who are still dependent on international aid. Children who became separated from their parents when the earthquake struck are among the most vulnerable.
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Sanitation and health continue to be a priority for the displaced and for residents of the shantytowns of Cité-Soleil and Martissant, neighbourhoods that were characterized by extreme poverty before the earthquake. Humanitarian problems in prisons have worsened, as it is harder than ever for detainees to access clean water, food and medical treatment.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the ICRC, which has been working in Haiti since 1994, participated in the emergency relief operation coordinated and led by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. For further information on the Red Cross and Red Crescent response to the earthquake, please visit the Federation’s website
The ICRC is now focusing on specific activities such as restoring family links and visiting detainees, given its expertise in these areas.
Children separated from their families
Since the end of January, 17 children have been reunited with their relatives by the ICRC and the Haitian Red Cross. With support from National Society volunteers, the ICRC will continue searching for the relatives of 94 unaccompanied children. These teams are also working on the cases of over 70 families who have submitted tracing requests regarding their children.
Working closely with the Haitian Red Cross, since 12 January the ICRC has distributed more than 300 tonnes of rice, beans, oil and salt to over 30,000 victims of the disaster, together with plastic tarpaulins and other essential items. This aid was received by displaced persons and children housed in some 10 orphanages and schools in the Haitian capital.
Providing safe drinking water
Around 4.3 million litres of drinking water have been distributed to 20,000 displaced people living in five camps in Port-au-Prince. The ICRC has also financed refuse collection from several sites for the displaced and installed 60 latrines.
The organization has continued to support the authorities in their efforts to produce and distribute clean water in Cité-Soleil in behalf of its estimated 200,000 inhabitants.
Supporting medical facilities
The ICRC has assisted 14 first-aid posts set up by the Haitian Red Cross in Port-au-Prince and Petit-Goâve in matters of management and drug supply. It has also provided essential drugs to some 15 medical facilities in areas affected by the earthquake for the emergency treatment of the wounded.
In addition, the ICRC has helped Haitian Red Cross volunteers run four first-aid posts in Cité-Soleil and Martissant. A total of 270 people have been treated at these facilities since the earthquake and 185 have been evacuated to hospital.
The medical teams have also assisted the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in a campaign to vaccinate some 12, 000 Martissant and Cité-Soleil residents.
ICRC delegates have visited over 3,300 people held in 23 civilian prisons and police stations in Port-au-Prince, to ensure they are receiving humane treatment.
To alleviate the food shortage, the ICRC has provided the Haitian prison service with 26 tonnes of rice, 10 tonnes of beans and 4,200 litres of oil. The authorities also received support in the form of drugs and administrative materials to treat 4,500 detainees.
A water tank with pump and taps was installed as a matter of urgency at the Port-au-Prince civilian prison to improve detainees’ access to water, as the water-supply system was badly damaged in the earthquake. The ICRC has carried out sanitation work in three prisons, including the only place of detention adapted for minors.