SIGNIFICANT DROP IN NUMBERS OF INTERNALLY DISPLACED IN CAMPS IN HAITI
(ReliefWeb) - Source: International Organization for Migration (IOM)
IOM has recorded an important fall in the number of people living in camps since the 12 January 2010 earthquake.
Some 500,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) have now left the camps from a peak of 1.5 million over the summer months to just over one million in November. This is a reduction of nearly one third of the IDP population. The decrease is even more dramatic in semi-urban and rural areas and towns away from greater Port au Prince, such as Leogane, Petit Goave, Gressier, Grand Goave and Jacmel, where the population in camps has decreased by over 50 per cent and in the case of Leogane, by two thirds.
The population of Haiti's 1,199 spontaneous and organized settlements is now heading below one million people as people seek an alternative to living in a tent or shelter. The intensity of the rainy season made it unbearable for many to remain in often leaking tents. Fears of cholera due to poor sanitation and hygiene also persuaded many people to seek alternative housing solutions outside of the camps. Many are reported to have simply "gone home".
An estimated 100,000 displaced people have also been re-housed in transitional shelters. Many others returned to their communities to live in repairable houses (marked either green or yellow). There have also been increased evictions, especially from schools and places of business as well as churches. Some households left congested Port au Prince all-together to go home to the regions. Others sent their children to the countryside for a better life.
"We finally start to see light at the end of the tunnel for the earthquake-affected population," said Luca Dall'Oglio, IOM Haiti chief of mission. "Coming amid political instability and the roll-call of disasters -hurricane Tomas and then cholera - these are hopeful signs that many victims of the quake are getting on with their lives."
The evidence that people are departing from camps in accelerating numbers comes from the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), a monitoring tool to collect up-to-date information on the population displaced by the earthquake and living in camps across Haiti. Monthly site assessments take place to ensure the most accurate information possible in addition to gauging monthly trends.
The DTM report concludes: "The IDP population living in IDP sites has decreased significantly over the previous months from an estimated 1,500,000 individuals in July, to 1,350,000 individuals in September, to now an estimated 1,050,000 individuals in November 2010 representing a decrease of 31% over a 5-month period."
Between the 25th October and 30th November, DTM field assessments were conducted in 1,356 Internally Displaced Person (IDP) sites, of which 1,199 were confirmed as having IDP households living on site. An estimated total of 242,522 households were living in IDP sites in November 2010, which is down by 118,995 households (or 33%) since July 2010.
The return of people from camps to their original homes or to other housing solutions has been one of the thorniest issues for the humanitarian community. The lack of land tenure and the destruction of many houses in already heavily congested slums left many of those displaced with few options but to remain in shelters.
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The full report will be posted at: http://tinyurl.com/CCCM-Haiti