ECHO backs IOM efforts to close Haiti earthquake camps and re-house victims

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Clearing a site for a new camp for Haitian’s displaced by the 12 January earthquake.
Photo credit Daniel Desmarais, IOM

Three years after Haiti's catastrophic 2010 earthquake, some 87,750 families are still living in 450 makeshift, insanitary and often dangerous camps scattered throughout the country.

The European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) has now stepped in with a new EUR 6 million contribution to an IOM programme which supports the relocation of camp residents to safer housing options through the provision of rental subsidies.

The new ECHO funding will allow IOM to extend the programme until December 2013 targeting at least 7,560 families in some 50 of the highest risk camps in terms of poor sanitation, flooding and landslides.

A total of some 36,500 families or 146,000 individuals are expected to have received rental subsidies by the end of 2013. This will reduce the total number of individuals in camps to approximately 50,250 families or 201,000 individuals.

As part of return programmes introduced in 2011 by the Haitian Government and the Office for the Construction of Accommodation and Public Buildings., some 159,178 families, or 636,712 individuals, have already been assisted with relocation to communities where they lived before the earthquake.

ECHO started backing the IOM project with a EUR 1.7 million contribution in August 2012. The scheme had a two-fold impact. On the one hand it offered displaced families the opportunity to have a fresh start in a better home.

On the other, it restored to Haitians access to public spaces and services and gave back occupied private land to the people who owned it. In addition, it created conditions for the rehabilitation and construction of new infrastructure.

IOM project manager Chiara Milano says 'Decommissioning of camps allows the legitimate land owners to get back their plots. Many of them have subsequently started new housing construction in response to increased demand created by return programmes and specifically by the relocations from the camps'.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 2’02″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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