Port‐au‐Prince: Cite Soleil.
Port‐au‐Prince is still reeling from the effects of the powerful earthquake that hit over one month ago. Cite Soleil, one of the poorest and most violent neighborhoods of Port‐au‐Prince (pre‐earthquake population estimated at 250,000) is crowded with people left homeless, as the earthquake destroyed or seriously damaged almost half of the homes. The displaced residents have converged in camps‐ sites designated for tents and makeshift dwellings (generally made of large plastic tarps), providing approximately 60 ft² per family.
Since 2005 in Cite Soleil AVSI’s staff have run education, psychosocial support and conflict resolution programs. Immediately after the earthquake, they switched their activities to rescue and emergency operations. In agreement with the United Nations relief effort and local authorities, AVSI took charge of four camps: Place Fierte, Bas Fontaine, Parc Bobi and Soleil 26, housing approximately 7,500 people.
AVSI’s strategy is to create the essential conditions needed for survival and recovery, favoring social networks and mutual help. AVSI seeks to minimize negative side effects of extremely crowded living conditions, such as promiscuity and lack of basic necessities, while paying close attention to children, orphans and families. Its approach is consistent with AVSI’s capacities and general method of intervention, not using a blanket strategy to reach every possible survivor, but rather focusing on those people, communities and places with whom it has established relationships, and working to enlarge those target groups in a plan of long‐term solidarity.
During the past four weeks the AVSI team has:
- Conducted a general survey: of the population (authorized by the government and in cooperation with local authorities), resulting in the identification of the most vulnerable groups: pregnant and nursing women, single mothers, elderly and disabled, families with adolescent girls, and orphans. The survey facilitated highly targeted interventions and the identification of very specific priorities.
- Provided shelters: 1000 large plastic tarps, 30 single family tents prioritized for families with adolescent girls, 40 large tents housing 800 people
- Distributed non‐food items: 350 excavation/demolition kits for clearing debris, 1000 towels and sets of bed sheets, 600 mats, prioritized for pregnant/nursing women, disabled and elderly, 500 family hygiene kits and 250 family kitchen kits, kitchen materials for a soup kitchen serving 250 vulnerable children
- Provided basic health and nutrition services: January 22nd opened a field clinic staffed with a medical doctor and nurses, open 5 days a week and specializing in maternal and child care, run malnutrition program reaching 250 people daily, supplementary meal program for 65 pregnant women and 500 children
- Provided basic education services: February 4th opened preschool‐6th grade “Tent School” for 200 children
- Provided sanitation services: Provided 1800 gallons/day of drinkable water in Place Fierte,
promoted healthy hygiene practices
Main concerns in Port‐au‐Prince continue to be water supply and sanitation (latrines and trash disposal). AVSI has received in‐kind donations and financial support from private donors and from UN Institutions (UNICEF, OCHA) as well as institutions of the USA, Italy and Spain.
To see pictures of AVSI’s recovery work in Haiti visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/avsigallery/