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Cablegate: Usaid/Dart Assessment of Earthquake-Affected Towns In

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FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0071
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0274
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE
INFO RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
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UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 000098

AIDAC
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON PGOV PINR PREL PREF HA
SUBJECT: USAID/DART ASSESSMENT OF EARTHQUAKE-AFFECTED TOWNS IN
HAITI'S SOUTHERN PENINSULA - HUMANITARIAN UPDATE #4

REF: PORT A 0054; PORT A 0058; PORT A 0060

1. (U) Summary. On January 25 and 26, assessment teams from
USAID's Disaster Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART) visited
earthquake-affected cities and towns along Haiti's southern
peninsula. The team confirmed that Leogane sustained heavy
earthquake damage, with the majority of buildings rendered
unusable. Assessments conducted in two of Leogane's camps
indicated that sanitation and hygiene remain major concerns, while
water needs appeared to be met. Families have constructed shelters
with materials from damaged buildings and are preparing their own
food in makeshift kitchen areas. Coordination among organizations
working in Leogane and surrounding areas remains poor,
necessitating the establishment of a local U.N. cluster system.
End summary.

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DAMAGE ALONG HAITI'S SOUTHERN PENISULA

---------------------------------------

2. (U) On January 25 and 26, USAID/DART staff conducted
assessments in earthquake-affected Leogane, Grand Goave, and Petit
Goave towns in West Department. The assessments substantiated
recent U.N. estimates indicating that the earthquake heavily
damaged or destroyed more than 80 percent of Leogane, while less
than 20 percent of buildings in neighboring Grand Goave and Petit
Goave were destroyed. With the extent of the damage and
displacement in the Leogane area, substantial relief and recovery
efforts will be required.

----------------------

SETTLEMENTS IN LEOGANE

----------------------

3. (U) According to the Government of Haiti and the International
Organization for Migration (IOM), there are between 15 and 20
spontaneous settlements in Leogane - the city most affected by the
January 12 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. To determine
humanitarian needs and gaps in assistance in Leogane, the
USAID/DART conducted multiple assessments in two settlements,
including the city's largest camp at the soccer stadium, which
currently houses 4,000 to 5,000 people during the day and up to
9,000 people at night.

-----------------------------

SHELTERS, FOOD, AND CAMP LIFE

-----------------------------

4. (U) The majority of families at the stadium had constructed
shelters with materials salvaged from damaged houses, primarily
sheets of corrugated metal, boards, and bed linens. Camp
inhabitants indicated that families share living quarters,
reporting that an average of three families slept in a 15 foot by
20 foot space. Although a number of manufactured tents were
pitched throughout the camp, self-constructed structures comprised
the vast majority of shelters. A second USAID/DART assessment team
noted that some camp residents have also benefited from a limited
distribution of high-quality reinforced plastic sheeting of unknown
origin.


5. (U) Both USAID/DART assessment teams observed ongoing cooking
in settlements visited, noting that many families stored cooking
materials in their tents - primarily pots used over an open flame.
In addition, multiple families were observed eating self-prepared
rice, accompanied by beans and other items. The teams also noted
significant commercial activity in the camp, including a barber
shop, shoe salesmen, and a cell phone charging station.

------------------------------

WATER, SANITATION, AND HYGIENE

------------------------------

6. (U) At the Leogane stadium settlement, the Spanish Red Cross
has installed a water bladder on the roof of a building that forms
the edge of the camp, complete with piping and two six-spigot taps.
The team observed no queues forming at the well, indicating that
the camp population is not experiencing a water shortage. Spot
tests indicated that the water was chlorinated at the recommended
level. When asked, camp residents indicated that their water needs
had been met with the installation of the water bladder.

7. (U) However, the USAID/DART determined that stadium camp lacked
adequate sanitation facilities, with only one pre-existing latrine
on site. Residents continue to use the grassy area outside the
stadium's main playing surface for defecation, as well as for
garbage disposal. The solid waste is attracting large number of
flies; proliferation of other vectors is likely as well. The
USAID/DART assessment team noted several open areas on the
perimeter of the stadium suitable for latrine blocks. Due to
potential hazards associated with poor sanitation practices and
concentrated population, construction of latrines and establishment
of a system for garbage disposal remain high priority interventions
which should be pursued urgently by the U.N. Water, Sanitation, and
Hygiene (WASH) Cluster.

8. (U) In one of Leogane's smaller camps, located in front of the
mayor's office, the USAID/DART observed similar water and
sanitation conditions. The displaced population currently collects
water from one pre-existing artesian well, where water flow is
moderate, but continuous. In addition, households reported
receiving water purification tablets and collapsible water
containers in a recent distribution. However, like the larger
camp, the USAID/DART observed no latrines at the site. Camp
residents indicated that families continued to use latrines in
damaged houses, or had resorted to open defecation.

---------------

HEALTH SERVICES

---------------

9. (U) USAID/DART assessment teams spoke with multiple
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Leogane, many of which
were providing basic health and medical services. In discussion
with NGO and volunteer staff, the USAID/DART discovered that,
because NGOs have not participated in the U.N. cluster system,
coordination of activities remains poor. In many cases, NGO staff
members were unaware of the services offered by organizations in
the same area. This became particularly apparent when staff at the
stadium health clinic indicated that they did not know where to
refer patients that required more advanced medical treatment.
(Note: at least four field hospitals are located within a ten-mile
radius of Leogane's stadium, including two with surgical
capabilities. End note.) The USAID/DART encouraged NGOs to send a
representative to local cluster meetings, when scheduled, to better
coordinate the medical response in Leogane and establish a pipeline
to restock medical supplies.


---------------------------

PETIT GOAVE AND GRAND GOAVE

---------------------------

10. (U) Although Petit Goave and Grand Goave experienced some
heavy earthquake-related damage, destruction was sporadic -
affecting an estimated 15 to 20 percent of both towns. According
to a representative from IOM in Petit Goave, many families still
sleep outside, fearing an aftershock during the night. The
USAID/DART observed that many displaced families had erected
shelters beside damaged homes, incorporating the remaining walls or
rubble into a structure located on the same property. A limited
number of families had erected tents in the middle of the street,
while others used locally-made screens woven from palm fronds as
walls.

11. (U) In Petit Goave, the USAID/DART observed a neighborhood
with approximately 15 houses partially visible in the water.
According to local residents, the earthquake resulted in a dramatic
shift of the shore line, illustrated by now-submerged houses and
standing palm trees once located 20 feet or more from the water's
edge. At the same site, locals indicated that the ocean floor no
longer sloped gradually as it had before, but "dropped off"
abruptly after approximately 30 feet. Although it remains unclear
exactly how the earthquake altered the ocean floor, the permanent
change in the shore line is apparent.

------------

COORDINATION

------------

12. (U) The USAID/DART learned that a large number of NGOs are
present in and around Leogane, including Samaritan's Purse, Save
the Children, Diakonie, Crisis International, Action Contre la
Faim, Heart to Heart, United Methodist Committee on Relief, and
Partners in Health. For successful relief and recovery programs, a
local cluster system must be established to coordinate NGO and U.N.
activities. The USAID/DART understands that the U.N. Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) plans to promote
further development of the cluster system in areas outside
Port-au-Prince, particularly along the southern peninsula, and
strongly encourages the initiative.
MERTEN

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