News story

Safe homes for Haiti as deadly hurricane season approaches

The UK is helping to avert a crisis by moving 17,500 people – already displaced by disasters – out of temporary tents and into secure homes.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Photograph of a child near temporary tents in Port au Prince, Haiti
Those still living in tents after the 2010 earthquake are at real risk when the hurricane season begins. Picture: William Daniels/Panos

Britain will help Haiti prepare for a worse-than-average hurricane season by investing ‘up front’ in homes for people displaced by the 2010 earthquake.

The new UK assistance will help to save more lives by moving people away from unsafe camps, where many families still live in tents and are at particular risk from tropical storms.

See also

Three years after one of the deadliest earthquakes of modern times killed over 230,000 in Haiti, more than 320,000 people continue to live in temporary camps across the capital Port au Prince.

These have since been hit by Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Isaac, and are particularly vulnerable to the approaching hurricane season.

The move, announced by International Development Secretary Justine Greening today, will eventually lead to the closure of 20 temporary camps.

It will also allow the reclaimed land to be reused by the community, for example by building new schools.

The UK will:

  • support the relocation of over 17,500 displaced people from camps at high risk of flooding, mud slides and eviction into secure housing

  • ensure those still in camps can access medical and psychological support, basic services such as water and sanitation, and protect vulnerable girls and women from the threat of sexual violence

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

It is a tragedy that three years after the devastating earthquake, people in Haiti continue to live in tents, exposed to the elements and under the constant threat of crime and disease. They are especially vulnerable to the approaching hurricane season.

The UK will invest in advance to save not only lives and livelihoods, but also money. Closing these camps will mark a significant step forward in Haiti’s long-term recovery.

UK support will also ensure that those waiting to be moved, in particular girls and women, are protected from violence and given urgent access to vital services such as clean water and sanitation.

In April 2013, Justine Greening went to Haiti as part of a visit by the Political Champions for Disaster Resilience. Residents in the camp that she visited are among those being prioritised to be moved.

The UK is providing £4.7 million to move people into more secure accommodation. This will be delivered via the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in support of the Government of Haiti’s Returns and Relocation strategy.

Additional support will also ensure that emergency food, shelter and medicine can reach people in the immediate aftermath of what experts predict will be a worse than average hurricane season, according to predictions from the Met Office, United Nations and the US.

It will also provide vital jobs to those whose livelihoods have been destroyed, ensuring they can continue to support their families.

Wider assistance to help Haiti prepare for the hurricanes will:

  • provide fuel and maintenance so that trucks can deliver life-saving items such as tents, mosquito nets, jerry cans and blankets to 600,000 people and essential food assistance to 480,000 people
  • provide paid-for work for 300,000 people in the immediate aftermath of disaster
  • allow the rapid treatment of 10,000 cholera victims by providing advance funding for medical staff, equipment and supervision of health facilities

The new UK support for hurricane preparedness is worth over £2m million and will be delivered via the World Food Programme and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

On the third anniversary of the 2010 earthquake earlier this year, the UK committed to helping Haiti withstand future disasters - including resettling those still living in temporary camps.

More around the web

Published 22 July 2013
Last updated 15 August 2013 + show all updates
  1. corrected block quote markdown
  2. First published.