Haiti seeks $21 million in funding to assist the numerous individuals forced to flee their homes due to violence caused by gangs.
On Tuesday, Philippe Branchat, the Chief of Mission for IOM in Haiti, expressed concern that displacement poses significant threats to the well-being, food access, and financial stability of individuals. Additionally, it leaves them vulnerable to gender-based violence and strains local infrastructure and social harmony in host communities.
Surging gang violence
Many residents have been forced to leave their homes due to an increase in gang violence in the Carrefour-Feuilles and Savanes Pistaches neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince.
More and more, they are choosing to live in makeshift areas instead of with local communities and families, exposing themselves to further risks.
According to IOM, numerous families struggle to fulfill their basic necessities. Insufficient housing and cramped living situations worsen conflicts, leading to heightened aggression and a higher likelihood of sexual abuse.
Precarious living conditions
According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), almost 200,000 individuals in Haiti are currently displaced within their own country. Of this number, approximately 70,000 are living in unsuitable and unstable makeshift settlements and group accommodations, while 31,000 are forced to sleep outdoors and 34,000 are squeezed into classrooms.
A woman living in a displacement site shared with IOM that she had to leave her neighborhood with her son when the shooting began. She urgently searched for a shelter and ended up staying at Lycée Jean-Marie Vincent. However, the classrooms are overcrowded and when it rains, they have to stand in the rain while trying to sleep.
The Shelter Cluster, jointly coordinated by IOM and the Haitian government, is a collaborative effort involving governmental entities, UN organizations, and both local and international NGOs.
The cluster partners are working quickly to provide blankets, mats, containers for water storage, emergency shelter kits, and kitchen sets to 70,000 individuals. Additionally, 53 centers that house displaced individuals will receive supplies and repairs, and cash aid will be given to 130,000 people residing with host families.
IOM provides help to those most in need to relocate from temporary shelters to more suitable housing.
IOM implements a Common Pipeline system in Haiti to improve the efficiency of aid delivery, providing essential relief items to partners.
The extended emergency has drained the resources of host families, causing them to struggle to assist displaced individuals. This has resulted in further displacement and heightened vulnerabilities.
Over the course of six months, the proportion of displaced individuals residing with host families has decreased from 75% to 55%, while the number living in collective centers has increased from 25% to 45%.
Additionally, the situation has been made worse by the repatriation of more than 115,000 Haitians from surrounding countries, a large number of whom do not have adequate identification, making it more difficult for them to reintegrate.
According to IOM data, approximately 22% of those brought back to their home country were previously forced to leave their homes in Haiti. This emphasizes the importance of finding lasting and effective solutions for internal displacement.
The UN agency stated that although providing immediate life-saving aid is crucial, it is also urgent to speed up efforts in addressing the underlying causes of displacement.