On the 14th August a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Haiti with devastating consequences. The passage of Tropical Depression Grace on the 17th of August worsened conditions on the ground and increased the level of humanitarian need. As at the 22nd of August more than 2,200 fatalities have been reported, at least 344 people are missing, over 12,000 people have been injured and upwards of 130,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed (OCHA sitrep 22 Aug).
Per the UN System in Haiti, 650,000 people need emergency humanitarian assistance in the three most affected departments (Sud, Grand’Anse and Nippes). The Haitian Government has declared a month-long state of emergency and underlined the need for food and psychological support. There is an urgent need for additional human and financial resources to rapidly scale up response efforts to match the scale of needs.
Based upon programmatic learnings following emergency responses to the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Christian Aid has issued an advocacy briefing. Christian Aid and the ACT Alliance secretariat are highlighting the following recommendations to donors and international actors:
- Donors should act fast and step up their efforts both in terms of quantity but also to deliver multi-year and quality of funding to address the earthquake crisis and its long-term recovery.
- Given the multi-sectoral nature of the crisis it is vital that the humanitarian community and donors moves in the direction of longer-term more holistic funding; that better integrates different sectors, phases, and dimensions of Haitian recovery. It must involve community philanthropy, religious leaders, and private sector in a nexus approach.
- Donors must continue to invest in disaster risk reduction programmes in order to strengthen national, local and community preparedness towards multiple risks. Reconstruction should focus on this type of long-term intervention instead of short-term fixes.
- The UN and other INGOs should abide by their Grand Bargain commitments and support local agency by working through to strengthen and not replace, national and local civil society who will continue the reconstruction efforts in the long term. It is of fundamental importance to include local civil society and local government departments in decision making processes and coordination systems as well as to ensure access to quality funding, such actors can work in a more culturally sensitive way, based upon their strong knowledge of the context. Practices such as survivor and community led response have shown the benefit of giving agency to affected population being fast, bespoke and therefore efficient and sustainable, strengthening mutual help and solidarity within the community whilst also providing important psychosocial recovery.
- Insecurity remains a major challenge facing humanitarian actors across all sectors. Access constraints and a volatile security context mean the delivery of humanitarian assistance is being hampered. High quality programmes, including essential protection and GBV programming and reconstruction and livelihoods programmes, central to the long-term recovery of affected communities, can only be delivered by humanitarian actors, in line with humanitarian principles, as part of a safe scale up of the planned response involving the Haitian authorities, UN actors and NGOs.
- The first round of presidential elections is scheduled for the 07th of November. The Haitian Government is leading the co-ordination and scale up of multi-sectoral response efforts in all quake-affected areas. The provision of critical humanitarian assistance must not be hindered by political instability.
- With extensive damage to homes and infrastructure, large numbers of people remain displaced and without shelter. C-19 remains a virulent and dangerous risk to the wider population. Without strong preventative messaging by all actors involved in the humanitarian response to raise awareness of C-19 there is a significant risk that the situation facing affected populations could significantly worsen.