Six months after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, with 1.5 million people living in tents and the hurricane season underway, ActionAid have found that the country’s reconstruction plans are flawed and needed an urgent rethink.
The rebuilding, overseen by a special commission led by US President Bill Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, reflects the wishes of donor countries - mainly the US and the EU - rather than the needs of Haitians themselves, ActionAid said.
Jean-Claude Fignolé, ActionAid Haiti Country Director, said: “The Haitian people must be included in the reconstructions plans. At the moment the plan is more reflective of donor country interests and that is wrong. It is imperative that Haitian people be directly involved in their own recovery and lead the reconstruction process."
The situation in Haiti remains extremely challenging. The hurricane season which began on June 1 and continues until November has been forecast this year to be particularly severe with a high probability of several tropical storms which could lead to mudslides, landslides, subsidence and flooding.
Most survivors are still living in tents as finding the land to build transitional shelters has been a huge challenge in the densely populated capital Port-au-Prince where land ownership is often disputed and documents have been lost or destroyed.
Jean-Claude Fignolé said: “It is urgent that solutions to the housing crisis are found and implemented before a real storm hits the country.”
ActionAid is currently working with partners and communities to find solutions to the housing problem by identifying land where transitional housing can be built and providing training to communities so they can advocate for land rights.
Working in close cooperation with local partner organisations and volunteers, ActionAid's earthquake response to date has reached over 133,000 of the most vulnerable survivors, moving from food and emergency item distributions in the first few weeks to longer term recovery programmes such as cash-for-work and grief counseling.
ActionAid has been working in Haiti since 1997 and will be there for the long term. The agency has planned a three year earthquake response and rehabilitation programme until January 2013 and its long term development work will continue beyond that.
photo : ©Charles Eckert/ActionAId