With the Hurricane season underway, and rain a near daily occurence, improving shelter for the some 1.5 million displaced must be immediately ramped up. Thus far only about 6,000 transitional shelters have been built of a planned 125,000 and as the AP notes, of $5.3 billion pledged "less than 10 percent has been delivered. On Wednesday, the U.S. Congress passed a bill to partially fund the administration's $1.15 billion pledge to Haiti and sent it to President Barack Obama." The clearing of rubble, necessary for the construction of new shelters, is moving at a glacial pace; after 6 months, only about 2 percent of the estimated 20 million cubic yards have been cleared.
Adequate shelter in IDP [Internally Displaced Persons] camps is not just important for protection from the elements, but also from violence. A new report this week from the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, with partner organizations MADRE, TransAfrica Forum, and the law schools of the University of Minnesota and the University of Virginia, highlights the severity of gender based violence in the camps since the quake. The report, "Our Bodies are Still Trembling: Haitian Women's Fight Against Rape," notes that:
Although this Report makes no attempt to quantify the rapes that have occured in the camps to date, one this is clear - rapes in the camps are dramatically underreported. In the first two months after the earthquake, KOFAVIV tracked 230 incidents of rape in just 15 camps in Port-au-Prince. Medecins Sans Frontieres reported 69 cases of rape in the Month of April at one of their clinics in Port-au-Prince."Yet:
Preventative measures - such as providing lighting, privacy, secure housing, and active police presence or other effective security (particularly at night) within the camps - are critically lacking, despite UN guidelines that highlight the prevalence of rape and other GBV [Gender-Based Violence] in the aftermath of disaster, and provide blueprints for addressing them.To read the full report, click here.