Thousands more tents needed

2010-01-24 22:36

Geneva -The international aid agency leading efforts to provide shelter for hundreds of thousands of Haitian quake victims on Sunday appealed for thousands more tents or shelter equipment.

The International Organisation for Migration said in a statement that it had 10 000 family-sized tents in a warehouse in the capital Port-au-Prince but that "estimated needs stand at 100 000 to assist 500 000 persons".

Many of them are due to be resettled by the Haitian authorities temporarily outside Port-au-Prince during reconstruction efforts.

"The temporary tent settlements will provide a clean and safe environment for the displaced, but they are a short term solution. Tent settlements are not sustainable," said Vincent Houver, the IOM's chief in Haiti.

"A more solid and sustainable option is needed, but we also need tents. There is a shortage of tents," he added.

The agency was also receiving "a huge number" of requests from other aid groups and families who had lost their homes.

Haiti's government estimates that some 609 000 people are without shelter in the Port-au-Prince area, according to the IOM.

More than 130 000 people have taken advantage of free transport to cities in the north and southwest, as quake survivors were also encouraged to seek temporary refuge with relatives and friends.

IOM spokesperson Jean-Philippe Chauzy told AFP that supply sources for some more tents had been identified.

But tents, he added, would be ill-suited to the rigours of Haiti's cyclone season after May or June.

"Corrugated iron or building materials would be a big help as well," he said.