Residents of Port-au-Prince’s IDP camps were prepared for tropical storm Emily
By: Benjamin Steinlechner
Port Au Prince, Haiti, August 4, 2011 – UNICEF worked with national and international emergency response partners to assist residents of Port-au-Prince’s IDP (Internally displaced Persons) camps such as Ferdinand Rene in preparing for tropical storm Emily which fortunately did not hit the western part of Haiti as expected.
“I live here in this camp with my wife and four year old daughter,” says 38-year-old Rene, who is one of more than 600,000 residents still living in makeshift housing in Port au Prince’s IDP camps following the January 2010 earthquake. “The shelter we live in is made out of plywood. It’s better than a tent but not storm proof… If the storm hits hard, I don’t know where to bring my family.”
Nevertheless in response to the predicted arrival of Tropical Storm Emily, UNICEF Haiti activated emergency plans to cover key areas of the country. Luckily the storm became less of a threat. Nonetheless, a primary concern was and is the wellbeing and safety of children and women, who are always the most vulnerable during emergencies.
As with every other IDP camp in this city of more than two million, people in Carradeux camp were worried about the potential threat of tropical storm Emily over their families and their few possessions.
Victor Louisnel another resident helped reinforce a neighbor’s tent with poles.
“The situation here,” he says, “is very difficult. People have nothing. If the storm hits us, we will have less than nothing,” he says. “We are trying to do what we can. Even if this tent will not withstand the winds we at least tried.”
As part of Haitian national contingency preparations to respond to the needs of as many as 300,000 persons, UNICEF prepositioned emergency supplies at critical points throughout Haiti. It contemplated sufficient resources for a multi-sectorial, eight-week response affecting as many as 100,000 persons. UNICEF Haiti’s preparations ensured its Core Commitments to Children.
Happily this time Emily forgave Haiti.