UNHCR commits to help humanitarian effort in Haiti

Briefing Notes, 19 January 2010

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 19 January 2010, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR reiterates its strong commitment to back up and support the broader humanitarian effort to address the massive and urgent needs in Haiti, which is under the leadership of the Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes. This has been conveyed to him at the beginning of the crisis.

We are fully committed to assist where UNHCR expertise and supplies are found to be most helpful by the UN team on the ground. UNHCR has to date no established presence in Haiti, as its mandate is mainly invoked in situations of refugee or internal displacement stemming from targeted persecution or widespread violence due to conflict.

In this context, what we can and are offering is any necessary back up expertise in protection, camp management, site planning and coordination as well as our stockpile of tents and plastic sheeting, where needed.

Two plane loads carrying 2,130 light weight tents and 18,550 plastic sheets for 92,750 beneficiaries will arrive in Haiti at the beginning of next week from UNHCR's logistics hub in Dubai. Six hospital tents have already been sent. A small team will arrive in the Dominican Republic imminently, at the request of the UN's Resident Coordinator there.

UNHCR is also sending experts on protection to Haiti to support a team led by OHCHR. The team will work to identify and assist the most vulnerable people.