Haiti: Earthquake relief continues, but funds are still needed

More than 50,000 people receiving basic supplies as UN migration agency launches flash appeal and fundraising campaign for emergency response
The community of Les Cayes was destroyed after the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Haiti.

© PMA/Marianela González  -   The community of Les Cayes was destroyed after the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Haiti

In its response to the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on 14 August, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has distributed essential hygiene and shelter items to more than 51,000 people.

The 7.2-magnitude quake left more than 2,200 people dead and some 800,000 homeless, thousands of them internally displaced, and hundreds are still missing.

According to agency figures, more than 12,000 people were injured, straining an already fragile health system. Official figures indicate that more than 52,000 houses were either destroyed or destroyed and 77,000 more are badly damaged. There was also extensive destruction to essential facilities such as schools and hospitals.

The head of the IOM Mission in Haiti noted that many of the affected people live in remote areas where infrastructure and roads were badly affected, severely limiting humanitarian access.

"It has been a great challenge to provide immediate assistance, but together with our partners we remain committed to reaching the affected population also in the most remote areas," said Giuseppe Loprete.

Flash appeal

In addition to ongoing operations, IOM launched an urgent appeal and fundraising page for Haitians in need.

The Organization stressed that more than 650,000 people are in urgent need of life-saving assistance and that funds are needed for long-term recovery, especially in the areas of shelter, mental health support and COVID-19 prevention.

Una enfermera atendiendo a los pacientes de un hospital en Les Cayes, luego del terremoto del 14 de agosto.
© UNICEF/Georges Harry Rouzier - A nurse tends to patients at a hospital in Les Cayes after the 14 August earthquake.
Relief distribution and other functions

In addition to delivering basic relief supplies such as shelter kits including tools, plastic sheeting and hygiene kits with soap and toothpaste, IOM teams are assisting with official data collection and structural assessments with the Haitian authorities.

IOM will also provide support for the demolition of unsafe buildings, clearing rubble and assisting communities through cash-for-work activities.

In the town of Jérémie, one of the areas most affected by the earthquake, some communities were left isolated and without access to basic supplies. IOM teams were able to deliver tarpaulins, hygiene kits, blankets, jerry cans and cooking utensils, among other basic aid this week.

Earthquake, pandemic and insecurity

The agency stressed that the destruction due to the disaster is compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the security situation in the country, further complicating the delivery of assistance.

In the midst of the tropical storm season, the risk of heavy rains and flash floods remains high and poses additional challenges for both humanitarian workers and the population, it explained.

It reported that it has deployed protection teams, including trained psychologists, to provide urgent psychological first aid and psychosocial support, with special consideration for women and girls who are most vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation in an emergency.

IOM has also established a toll-free hotline where Haitians can call for psychosocial support and to make complaints or denunciations.

The Organization also co-leads the Shelter and Non-Food Items sector, working closely with government authorities, and has established a common referral service open to international and local partners for the coordinated delivery of shelter and household items. So far, more than 10,000 families have been assisted.