Six years after the earthquake in Haiti left at least 1.5 million homeless, humanitarian action has achieved significant results. A reported 96% of the 1.5 million displaced people have left the camps thanks, in part, of return and relocation programs.
“Despite the progress achieved to date, there are still nearly 60,000 people living in IDP camps in vulnerable situation and in need of humanitarian assistance and durable solutions,” said Enzo di Taranto, Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Haiti.
Over the past six years, other humanitarian challenges have been tackled, including the fight against food insecurity and cholera. Until late 2014, the severe food insecurity decreased considerably. Also, the number of suspected cholera cases decreased, from 352,033 cases in 2011 to 27,800 in 2014. In addition, national capacities for emergency preparedness and response have been strengthened.
However, since June 2015, OCHA has noticed a deterioration of the humanitarian situation. The cholera epidemic has seen a resurgence in the number of cases (over 33,000 in 2015), challenging certain gains obtained in 2014. Also, due to the drought and the effects of El Niño, the food insecurity has increased, affecting about 3 million Haitians.
The vulnerability to disasters and migration issues between Haiti and the Dominican Republic have also affected the humanitarian context. More than 55,000 people, identified by the International Organization for Migration and the border network partners, were deported or have entered in different ways in Haiti. This number constitutes only a part of the populations deported or returned from the Dominican Republic to Haiti since June 2015.
Unfortunately, these humanitarian dynamics come at a time when funding for humanitarian action has decreased significantly, endangering the important progress made to date and leading to a gradual withdrawal of humanitarian actors.
“Haiti cannot afford to become a forgotten crisis. Therefore, we call for a sustained commitment to ensure that urgent humanitarian needs are addressed while sustainable actions continue. In 2015, OCHA has mobilized about $13 million as part of the Central Emergency Responses Funds (CERF) and Emergency Relief and Response Funds (ERRF). However, this is not enough to address the urgent needs of the Haitian population in 2016,” added Mr. di Taranto.
Due to the deterioration of the living conditions of IDPs, OCHA encourages the humanitarian community, civil society and the private sector to support the efforts to improve access to safe water, sanitation and medical treatment to displaced families, waiting for the definitive closure of the camps.