Haiti camp dwellers drop dramatically

2012-01-10 19:14

Geneva - UN agencies said on Tuesday that Haitians face many challenges on the second anniversary of the earthquake that killed more than 200 000 of their people, but those living in camps have dropped dramatically.

"From a peak of 1.5 million people in July 2010, the number of camp residents has dropped by 66% to 515 819," said International Organisation for Migration spokesperson Jumbe Omari Jumbe.

He said the displaced Haitians are living in 707 sites across the earthquake affected areas.

Other UN officials said more funding is needed to rectify the country's ongoing housing crisis.

"Haiti has been witness to one of the largest humanitarian endeavours ever mounted and the most destructive urban disaster in recent history," said Jumbe.

With the government of Haiti, international and national partners, IOM "is active on many fronts providing relief and solutions for a crippled society that is only now getting off its knees".

Many Haitians have found better said Jumbe, while noting that if rebuilding is done too quickly it could recreate the conditions that led to so many deaths two years ago.

UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs said "Haiti is still facing important humanitarian needs with close to 520 000 people still living in camps. Funding is badly needed."

OCHA estimates that $231m of funding is needed for 2012.

A cholera epidemic that worsened during the rainy season which started in September has claimed 7 000 lives since October 2010 said Byrs with food insecurity affecting 45% of Haiti's population.

Up till the end of 2011 a total of 522 235 people had been hit with cholera.

The outbreak has been widely blamed on a camp of UN peacekeepers from Nepal. Lawyers representing victims have demanded the United Nations pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation.