2016 Global Report on Internal Displacement - Haiti's earthquake IDPs

In January 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, killing more than 160,000 people and displacing nearly 1.5 million. Six years later, there were still nearly 62,600 people living in deteriorating conditions in 36 displacement camps in and around Port-au-Prince. IDPs in 16 of these camps are highly vulnerable to the impact of future natural hazard events.[75]

Living conditions in the camps were always poor, but have become worse still as basic services are wound down. There is ever less humanitarian funding available and fewer organisations providing assistance.

People living in the camps are exposed to criminal gang violence, abuse, exploitation and forced eviction that displaces them again. Women and girls have been particularly susceptible to increasing insecurity and health hazards. IDPs' lack of civil documentation also continues to hamper their access to basic services, their children's enrolment for school exams, and their right to own land, vote and open bank accounts.[76]

Obstacles to urban integration and other solutions for camp residents include the poor conditions in the neighbourhoods where they lived before the earthquake and high unemployment levels. Unemployment among IDPs is estimated at 83 per cent, more than double the rate for the urban work force.[77] Some, meantime, are gradually turning their temporary shelters into more permanent, unplanned informal settlements.

Ultimately, real solutions for Haiti's remaining IDPs and as many as 3.5 million others living in urban poverty with similar vulnerabilities will depend on reducing socio-economic deprivation, insecurity and disaster risk. Improving national capacity to plan and manage land issues to complement the implementation of the 2013 National Housing and Habitat Policy would enable access to safe, affordable housing and tenure security for Haiti's poorest people, including IDPs.[78] Political instability and declining development assistance, however, have wide-reaching implications for the responses required, without which the risk of another major disaster is high. As the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the country has said: "Haiti cannot afford to become a forgotten crisis."[79]

75 UN, Haiti Humanitarian Response Plan, January-December 2016, April 2016 Citing IOM data as of February 2016 https://goo.gl/jBLEaA

76 UN, Haiti Transitional Appeal 2015-2016, 11 March 2015, pp 15-17, available at http://goo.gl/rJoo8Q

77 Ibid, p 19

78 Ibid, p 19

79 UN News Service, Haiti: six years after quake, UN cites progress but warns of 'deteriorating' situation for those still in camps, 16 January 2016, available at http://goo.gl/bl6y4C


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