Flash Appeal for Haiti 2008
Within the span of just over one week at the end of August and beginning of September, Hurricanes Fay and Gustav and tropical storm Hanna swept across Haiti, causing widespread destruction and despair throughout the country. While needs assessments are far from complete, it is estimated that up to 800,000 people are in dire need of humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance. The total number of Haitians directly and indirectly affected by the extreme weather conditions is much higher. Initial projections show that the economic impact of the current disasters will be even worse than after Hurricane Jeanne which hit Haiti in 2004. A large majority of the population was already facing extreme hardship, with 53% living with less than one US dollar per day and food prices for staple foods that had already increased over 40% since the beginning of the year.
During the night of 3 September, the town of Gonaives and its region was severely hit and 300,000 people out of a total population of 350,000 were directly affected by flooding. As of 6 September, over 100,000 people had taken refuge in temporary shelters in various parts of Haiti. A first estimate indicates that tens of thousands of houses have been damaged or destroyed. Many main roads and bridges across the country are destroyed or blocked, compounding an already difficult logistics operation. In several regions, the agricultural sector has been left in ruin, and hundreds of thousands are in need of food aid, water, non-food items and health services in the short and medium term. Current rains from the periphery of Hurricane Ike are likely to worsen a desperate situation.
So far, emergency relief such as shelter, food, water, non-food items, and medical care is being provided in all accessible areas that have been affected by the storms. Special support will be required for the most vulnerable families to be able to repair their houses. Heavy investment will also be necessary for rehabilitating roads and public buildings, and to re-launch agricultural activities. While humanitarian assistance in the form of relief supplies and services is an immediate priority, of equal importance will be the need to inject cash in the economy, notably by giving immediate cash-for-work jobs to Haitians whose livelihoods have been destroyed by these disasters. Activities using a labour-intensive approach should be given priority, in particular activities aimed at jumpstarting agricultural production and addressing the catastrophic environmental condition of the country.
The international community is working closely with, and under the leadership of, the Haitian Government which has made an official request to the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for international assistance. This Flash Appeal seeks USD$107,714,621for actions over a planning horizon of six months. The activities described in the document reflect the coherent response of UN agencies and NGOs in coordination with the Haitian Government and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to provide immediate and early recovery assistance. The Appeal will be updated and revised within a month to reflect new needs as the situation evolves and as better assessments become possible. The international donor community is hereby asked to provide a quick and generous response in order to enable this effort to succeed.