Cablegate: Usaid/Dart and Usaid/Haiti Assessments in Gonaives, Jeremie,


DE RUEHPU #0172/01 0491947
O 181945Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: PORT A 0098; PORT A 0136

1. Summary. On February 15, USAID Disaster Assistance Response
Team (USAID/DART) and USAID/Haiti staff conducted assessments of
humanitarian conditions for displaced persons and host families in
Gonaives, Artibonite Department; Jeremie, Grand-Anse Department;
and Les Cayes, South Department; as well as a rapid health
assessment in Jacmel, Southeast Department. The assessment
findings will help inform further programming by USAID's Office of
U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and USAID's Office of
Food for Peace (USAID/FFP), particularly related to host family and
community support.

2. Food and livelihood support remain priority needs in Artibonite
Department, which currently hosts the highest number of displaced
persons from Port-au-Prince, and Grand-Anse Department, where the
displaced population has increased considerably in the last two
weeks. In South Department, which hosts the second largest
displaced population, insufficient shelter for displaced people
without host families and reduced access to food due to declining
remittances remain concerns. In all departments, the majority of
displaced people reside with family members. Host families in
Jeremie also require shelter assistance in order to extend living
spaces to accommmodate the significant increase in household size.
End Summary.

3. Note: A forthcoming SEPTEL will outline the findings from the
February 15 Jacmel health assessment, as well as findings from a
February 18 assessment of protection issues and spontaneous
settlement conditions. End Note.

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

Displacement figures, Hosting arrangements, and shelter needs

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

4. Gonaives: Municipal authorities and the Department of Civil
Protection (DPC) preliminarily estimate the displaced population in
Artibonite Department at 154,000 people, including between 30,000
and 35,800 people in Gonaives and 40,000 others in St. Marc
municipality. While the majority of people displaced from
metropolitan Port-au-Prince currently live with family and friends,
a small number of people are residing in spontaneous settlements in
St. Marc and Petite Riviere de l'Artibonite.

5. The DPC and municipal authorities, with support from USAID
partner the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the
U.N. World Food Program (WFP), continue to conduct an in-depth
household survey in the Artibonite Department to confirm the
number, current location, and priority needs of displaced persons
and identify the number of school-aged children who require school

6. The USAID assessment team in Gonaives noted that, in deference
to lessons learned from the 2004 and 2008 hurricanes in Haiti, the
DPC has expressed a preference for host family placement over camp
construction, as camps reportedly remain cost-prohibitive,
difficult to service, less socially acceptable and sustainable, and
susceptible to protection and environmental issues.

7. Jeremie: The Emergency Committee for Grand-Anse Department
reported to the assessment team a displaced population of 100,000
people as of February 15, a significant increase from the 55,000
individuals registered by the regional government and reported for
several weeks following the earthquake. The committee indicated a
pre-earthquake population of 350,000 people across all 12 communes.
A significant majority of new arrivals, originally from the region,
currently reside with immediate or extended family. The Emergency
Committee reported no spontaneous settlement sites in the
department. The towns of Jeremie and Pastel and surrounding
villages host the highest numbers of displaced people in the
department, with 23,250 and 21,000 individuals, respectively.

8. The assessment team met with staff from USAID partner the
Haitian Health Foundation (HHF) in Jeremie, who confirmed the
Emergency Committee's statements regarding the number of displaced
persons, the absence of spontaneous settlements, and the prevalence
of hosting arrangements. According to HHF staff, the population in
the Jeremie area has increased by one-third since the earthquake to
reach 200,000 people at present. After arriving at the wharf in
Jeremie town from Port-au-Prince, the majority of displaced persons
immediately departed for surrounding villages to locate family,
with only a limited number remaining in the town. The staff has
observed displaced persons sleeping outside houses and in the
marketplace in Jeremie due to limited remaining space in hosting

9. HHF staff also remarked on the significant increase in the
average household size as a result of displacement to the Jeremie
area. Since the earthquake, the average household size has
increased from 7 people to 15 people, with some households hosting
up to 20 additional people. During frequent visits to hosting
communities, HHF staff observed the strain on physical structures
and identified a critical need for shelter assistance that enables
hosting families to extend houses. HHF staff recommended a
composite material using sugarcane stocks or clay - both abundant
in the area - for potential roofing materials.

10. The Grand-Anse Departmental Director and HHF staff noted a
limited number of people returning to Port-au-Prince, primarily to
assess property damage, salvage household items, and obtain food
for host families, before journeying back to Grand-Anse.

11. Les Cayes: The assessment team reports a pre-earthquake
population in South Department of approximately 800,000 people and
the arrival of an estimated 116,000 people displaced from
Port-au-Prince by the earthquake. Similar to other departments
receiving earthquake-affected individuals from Port-au-Prince, a
majority of displaced persons in South Department reside with host

12. According to a survey conducted by NGO Caritas in 11 out of 46
parishes in the department, displaced females constitute
approximately 65 percent of the total displaced population; 76
percent of the population indicated plans to stay in South
Department indefinitely, and 24 percent intend to return to
Port-au-Prince when the emergency in the capital ends. A survey
conducted by 120 volunteers organized by the mayor's office will
attempt to determine by the week of February 22 how many displaced
people in Les Cayes are relocating to find and live with family

13. The assessment team noted insufficient shelter assistance for
displaced persons without host families. Departmental authorities
discussed with the assessment team potential plans to establish
organized settlement sites in each commune due to ease of service
delivery. The team introduced support to hosting arrangements as
an alternative, cost-effective shelter solution. While receptive
to the idea, the authorities requested additional information on
tangible ways to support hosting.


Food assistance and agriculture


14. Gonaives: Families and relief organizations interviewed by
the USAID assessment team in Gonaives identified food as a priority
need for displaced persons and host families. Although food is
currently available in local markets, prices have increased since
the earthquake. The USAID/DART noted that the price of vegetable
oil has increased from approximately $7 to approximately $8.50 per
gallon. In Gonaives, WFP has only provided food assistance to
hospitals and health centers to date. The DPC reports that WFP
plans to begin food distributions to host families in the coming

15. Jeremie: Discussions with HHF staff and vendors at the local
market indicated to the assessment team significant food needs in
the Jeremie area, as food prices continue to increase, rations
delivered by aid agencies under pre-earthquake operations dwindle,
and farmers remain without the necessary inputs to plant before the
onset of the rainy season. [Note: HHF staff noted that even
before the earthquake, farmers lacked the capacity to meet the food
requirements of the area's population. End note.] According to
the Emergency Committee and confirmed during a visit to a local
market, the price of 25 kg bags of rice has increased from $24 to
$35, or 46 percent, and the price of wheat flour has increased more
than 70 percent.

16. Following the earthquake, HHF and USAID/FFP Title II partner
Catholic Relief Services, distributed food rations to 1,000
displaced families. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake,
Jeremie communities also organized food distributions for newly
displaced persons.

17. In addition, regional authorities, with assistance from the
U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), plan to provide
farmers in the area with seeds, pesticides, and other inputs such
as water pumps to help farmers plant before the start of the
raining season. Authorities conveyed to the assessment team the
benefits of reinforcing the agriculture sector quickly, including
increased livelihood opportunities and food availability for
displaced persons and hosting households alike.

18. Les Cayes: CRS staff reported food access, rather than
availability, as a concern in the area due to potential price
increases in the near future, coupled with a decline in remittances
from Port-au-Prince. Currently, food prices remain stable due to
the recent, favorable harvest.

19. Due to the significant population increase in the department
and medium- to long-term food security concerns, CRS also advocates
that agencies work to reinforce the agriculture sector through
cash-for-work activities to improve and repair drainage canals and
through distributions of seeds and other inputs.


Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene


20. Gonaives: A USAID assessment team reported that poor
sanitation remains a concern in Gonaives due to added strains on
host household facilities and the high water table in the area,

which precludes the installation of pit latrines. The assessment
team also reported that the existing water system in Gonaives was
destroyed by the 2008 hurricanes and remains under repair.
Residents continue the pre-earthquake practice of purchasing
potable water from private drinking water companies.




21. Gonaives: In Artibonite Department, the DPC reported that the
health situation has begun to stabilize. Priority needs in the
department's health sector include medicines, medical supplies, and
psychosocial support for individuals affected by the earthquake.

22. Jeremie: HHF staff indicated to the assessment team the
likelihood for increasing strains on health care facilities in the
Jeremie area, as patient caseloads double in some facilities that
currently operate with only half the number of pre-earthquake
personnel. HHF cited an increase at one facility from 61 to 150
daily patient consultations, a result, in part, of an increasing
number of upper respiratory infections among both the displaced and
hosting populations. Staff also highlighted shortages of vaccines,
other medicines, and trained midwives as concerns, as facilities
attempt to provide care to both displaced people and permanent
residents. The earthquake also destroyed the area's only nursing
and midwifery school.


Livelihoods and cash-for-work


23. Gonaives: Governmental authorities, relief organizations, and
families interviewed by the USAID assessment team in Gonaives
identified a critical need for livelihood opportunities for
displaced families and residents. Job creation would likely
encourage displaced persons to remain in Gonaives rather than
return to Port-au-Prince. IOM is implementing USAID-funded
cash-for-work activities in and around Gonaives to increase income
generation opportunities for vulnerable populations and improve
productive and protective infrastructure in the area. IOM reported
that approximately 30 percent of cash-for-work beneficiaries in
Gonaives are displaced persons recently arrived from

24. Jeremie: Both the Grand-Anse Emergency Committee and Jeremie
HHF staff emphasized livelihoods support and employment generation
as significant needs in order to prevent displaced people from
returning to Port-au-Prince and to ease the burden of displacement
on hosting families, many of whom rely only on the enervated
agriculture sector in Jeremie and also require short-term
livelihoods assistance. The Emergency Committee has requested that
relief organizations implement a combination of cash-for-work and
food-for-work activities to support people until the next harvest.


Emergency Relief Supplies


25. Gonaives: Drawing from a stock of non-food items
pre-positioned under a USAID/OFDA preparedness grant ahead of the
2009 hurricane season, IOM distributed kitchen sets, hygiene kits,
and mosquito nets to 2,500 people in Gona????ves and St. Marc. IOM
reported that displaced persons--particularly in rural areas of
Artibonite Department--require additional targeted distributions of
kitchen sets and hygiene kits.

26. Jeremie: While NGOs CARE and Medecins du Monde distributed
hygiene kits and emergency food items to displaced persons in the
initial days following the earthquake, stocks depleted quickly, and
no further distributions of emergency relief supplies have since
transpired, according to HHF staff.




27. The assessments conducted by USAID/DART and USAID/Haiti staff
will help USAID/OFDA and USAID/FFP target assistance appropriately
to areas hosting displaced persons. The significant numbers of
displaced people from Port-au-Prince residing with host families in
each assessed department and the associated strains on household
and community resources necessitate a strategy by aid agencies that
might include the provision of integrated and complementary
assistance, such as hygiene kit distributions, shelter and
livelihood support, and water, sanitation, and hygiene
interventions to mitigate disease risks. Timely and targeted
support remains critical as the rainy season approaches, food
prices continue to increase, and earthquake-affected health
facilities and water and sanitation infrastructure strain to meet
increased demands. The USAID/DART will continue to assess
humanitarian conditions in areas outside Port-au-Prince, as
USAID/OFDA and implementing partners refine programs to meet the
needs of host families and displaced persons alike.


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