Tuesday 16 February, 2010
Haiti’s homeless are in need of protection and shelter says World Vision, after a new survey found that more than half of respondents said they are living in exposed shelter and reported security concerns, including fear of robbery and rape.
As part of an assessment of need across Port-au-Prince, World Vision asked men and women living in spontaneous settlements, expansive camps and in tents outside their homes about their protection, security and safety concerns.
A fifth of households surveyed said they are at risk of robbery, 1 in 10 were afraid of “evil forces”, while others said they were scared of rape or felt generally insecure. More than 1 in 10 households said they lacked protection or security from authorities.
“World Vision calls on the UN to work with the Government of Haiti to draw up crime-prevention strategies that provide much-needed protection to vulnerable people living in very difficult conditions,” said World Vision’s Humanitarian Protection Specialist Patrick Sooma.
World Vision is calling for security information to be coordinated and shared between Government authorities, US military and UN peacekeepers, but most importantly with communities themselves. During this period of acute vulnerability, protection forces must maintain high visibility throughout the city to protect people against potential crime.
“Those we spoke to recognised children are in particular need of protection,” said Sooma. “We are deeply concerned for children separated from their parents. Especially as many temporary shelters are constructed on roundabouts, on busy roads or made of cotton sheets, without any kind of closed entrance.”
“Shelter is the utmost priority for people now in Haiti, not just in advance of the coming rains, but to provide privacy and some additional security,” he said.
Community representatives in just 6 camps said they knew of more than 900 children who are separated from both of their parents.
To help protect and care for children in camps, World Vision has established safe places for children to play and learn in 6 camps across the capital and will open 16 more in the coming weeks. World Vision is also distributing shelter supplies to thousands of people in camps and has helped half a million people with food and other emergency relief.
Read latest updates about World Vision’s response and children sponsored by Australians here.
You can donate to the Haiti earthquake appeal here.