Urgent need seen for lasting solutions for Haiti's 1.5 million displaced

Briefing Notes, 12 July 2010

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 12 July 2010, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR has had a small team in Haiti over the past six months but we have nonetheless played an important support role, working closely with OHCHR and with the Government and other partners. Since the January 12th earthquake our work has gone from flying in initial emergency relief and shelter, to helping people who were injured and evacuated to Dominican Republic, and working for the future of the huge displaced populations in and around Port-au-prince.

The gaps and challenges remain enormous. At the peak of displacement some 2.3 million people were living away from their former homes. Today 1.5 million people remain in spontaneous settlements. Most of the displaced are in settlements in and around Port-au-Prince, and assistance has not adequately reached those in host families. Durable solutions for the displaced are still not in sight.

UNHCR and OHCHR are working in partnership to coordinate with international and national actors responses to the many protection challenges facing displaced people. Camp security is still insufficient, conditions can be squalid, and in the absence of durable solutions many people are living on private land where they're under pressure from private owners to leave. The poorest of these were tenants before the earthquake and now simply have nowhere to return to.

UNHCR, in support of the Protection Cluster led by OHCHR, continues to implement Quick Impact Projects along the border with the Dominican Republic as well as in remote areas outside of Port-au Prince. The aim is to enhance protection of extremely vulnerable displaced populations and their host communities. We have provided emergency assistance to more than 200,000 beneficiaries in and outside Port-au-Prince.