Already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere prior to the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, Haiti now requires long-term assistance in order to recover. The government of Haiti estimates that approximately 230,000 people were killed in the quake and over 300,000 injured. More than 500,000 people are displaced, most of them living in 1,300 displacement camps and some living with host families.
Current Humanitarian Situation
Continued focus on the humanitarian crisis is needed while work is done on longer-term reconstruction. People still live in camps, most of which are overcrowded, unacceptably squalid, and without sufficient security or access to services. The UN cluster system, which allocates responsibility and assigns leadership to various UN agencies and NGOs for the provision of humanitarian aid, has organized the delivery of some essential aid. But it has not yet established an effective, coordinated system for delivering protection and assistance to all of the displaced. Further, Haitian civil society organizations have not been involved enough in the humanitarian operation.
There are rising concerns about security for the displaced. Women and children are particularly vulnerable as has been shown through increasing reports of sexual violence and exploitation. Camp residents who are being threatened with eviction by landowners are at great risk. An insufficient number of experienced protection officers has been deployed in Haiti by international humanitarian organizations. The UN police and military force in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH, is working with the Haitian National Police to improve security, but they have inadequate staffing and equipment.
There are currently insufficient livelihood opportunities and no plans for people to transition out of the camps.