Port-au-Prince, July 12, 2010—Six months after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, World Vision says much has been done to help the people of Haiti, but the road to lasting recovery will take many years. As aid groups transition from relief to recovery efforts, providing sturdy, safe shelter to survivors is one of the most pressing and complex challenges now facing aid workers. With hurricane season already underway, better shelter is also one of the most urgent needs for families.
“Our relief efforts continue at full pace, providing clean water, education for children, temporary shelter, job training and more. However, the long-term needs of Haiti remain daunting. Our priority now is getting transitional shelters up and doing all we can prepare for hurricane season,” said Ton van Zutphen, the agency’s response director.
With 30 years of experience in Haiti and hundreds of staff already living and working in the country, World Vision launched a large-scale relief program immediately after the January 12 quake. The Christian humanitarian organization continues to assist thousands still living under tarps in camps, including providing 2 million liters of clean water to 23 camps each week, cash-for-work opportunities for more than 10,000 people across 29 camps, 10 health clinics serving more than 11,000 people, and 22 Child-Friendly Spaces welcoming 7,700 children per week.
After distributing more than 82,000 tarps and tents in the early months of the response, World Vision is currently working to jumpstart transitional shelter projects while continuing to explore new sites, suggest options to repair houses, and mediate in camps to prevent evictions. Multiple challenges have slowed the process of moving displaced people from emergency shelters to sturdier transitional shelters, including issues around land rights, rubble removal, and determining the most appropriate, durable transitional shelter design for families in Haiti.
“Aid groups have never had to build so many transitional shelters of this durability so quickly,” explained van Zutphen. “And while we're grateful for the generous donations that are making our life-saving work possible, the reality is it will take more than money to move Haiti to the next stage. Strong coordination and clear direction from the national government are paramount to accomplish the many tasks at hand here in Haiti."
Given Haiti’s high rate of poverty and the massive loss of infrastructure and human capital, this earthquake has proven to be one of the most difficult disaster responses in recent memory. While working to scale up construction of transitional shelters, World Vision is also beginning to implement more sustainable large-scale programs in the areas of livelihoods, water and sanitation, health and education. To learn more about World Vision’s work in Haiti over the past six months, please read our 6-month report here; http://www.worldvision.org/resources.nsf/main/press-haiti/$file/Haitisix.pdf or call 1-888-56-CHILD (1-888-562-4453).
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