Haiti update: UN representative Edmond Mulet visits AVSI camps and overview of AVSI's plans
Friday, 21 May 2010 15:14

Since the earthquake, AVSI has been working unceasingly not only to provide essential services to the people of Haiti in this time of dire need, but also to offer a light of hope, affirming the victory of life over death and working to rebuild the human in Haiti.  Its efforts have not gone unnoticed.   On May 17, 2010, Edmond Mulet, special representative of the United Nations Secretary General, visited the tent villages in Tapis Verte/Parc Bobi which currently accommodate almost 7,000 displaced people in Cité Soleil.  His objective: to observe current living conditions in hopes of finding an adequate response to their needs.  Mulet left with a very positive view of AVSI and AVSI’s work, as seen in his May 17th mission report, posted on the MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti) website: “Currently, the NGO AVSI is the most active in the field…AVSI is accompanying the population, offering medicine and medical assistance, clean drinking water, etc.”  To read the full report, click here.

 

AVSI's Past and Current Efforts

Since the earthquake, AVSI has been working unceasingly not only to provide essential services to the people of Haiti in this time of dire need, but also to offer a light of hope, affirming the victory of life over death and working to rebuild the human in Haiti.  AVSI has provided essential services for nearly 30,000 people.  Immediately after the earthquake hit, AVSI gathered and distributed emergency provisions (food and non food items), passed out linens (1000 sets), mattresses (600) hygiene kits (500), and kitchen kits (250), and provided thousands of gallons of clean water along with a large water purifier for one of the tent camps.  AVSI established a procedure to identify and reunited abandoned children with their families, conducted psychosocial activities to help children process the trauma they were living and return to a level of “normalcy” and helped organize displaced people in tent villages (it managed 3 of them).  Within the tent villages, AVSI began a school that has grown from its initial 200 students to accommodate 3000 students in grades 1st -6th.  It provided 1000 tarps, 30 family tents for families with adolescent girls, and 40 large tents capable of sheltering 800 people, giving priority to single mothers with more than 5 children.  In healthcare, 2 AVSI doctors began to manage the Scalabrinian Order health center attending to hundreds of patients a day.  Currently these laudable doctors run several mobile health clinics serving thousands of people. AVSI began and continues to maintain a food distribution plan for pregnant mothers and children under the age of 5, as well as a nutrition campaign targeting the same group.  130 local AVSI staff and eight foreign staff (including two medical doctors) are working in and around Port-au-Prince in the areas of Cité Soleil, Martissant, Warf Jérémie, and Cité Militaire and also in Les Cayes, in southern Haiti.  In Cité Militaire AVSI works in collaboration with CESAL, an NGO and AVSI network partner, and in Haiti at large AVSI works in cooperation with the UN Systems, UNICEF, the World Food Program and many other international and private donors.

Looking to the future

AVSI is in the process of establishing 7 mobile health clinics, capable of providing medical assistance to 10,000 children and 2,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women.  It is currently constructing 10 temporary schools with wooden frames (as opposed to tents), creating a semi-permanent structure to conduct classes for its 3,000 students while shielding them from the elements during the rainy season. Moreover, AVSI has acquired land upon which it will build an education center serving 3,000 children, as soon as the emergency situation permits.  With AVSI’s Distance Support Program 600 children and families in Port-au-Prince continue to be supported; 500 additional children are being supported by an emergency Distance Support Program.

In line with the Government of Haiti’s plan to decongest the emergency areas of Port-au-Prince by favoring the dispersion from the city to rural areas, AVSI continues to reinforce its agricultural development and food security programs in Les Cayes, located in the south of Haiti.  The programs in Les Cayes began in 1997 in collaboration with Haiti’s University of Notre Dame with the creation of an experimental farm dedicated to applied research and extension services.  The program later expanded to meet the needs of the local rural communities: methods and quality of agriculture production (rice, corn, beans etc.), small animal husbandry, clean water supply, irrigation infrastructure (in collaboration with the NGO MLFM) and the support of 5 infant and child nutrition centers.

To say that there is still much work to be done would be an understatement, but in the words of Fiametta, AVSI Country Representative in Haiti, “man’s heart can overcome any tragedy; we are on the front lines, and we feel hope beginning to grow.”