We were already proposing to build a third Children's Village in Haiti (in Les Cayes) because there are were already many orphaned children there in need of help and hope. We know from previous disasters on this scale that there will be a considerable number of orphaned children in need of long term care (we are providing loving homes to around 500 orphans from the Asian tsunami and 300 from the Kashmir earthquake). Even though we can get little information out at present we have had enough contact with the national team there and have enough experience to start planning.
Phase I – Surviving in Port au Prince, mobilizing
Beyond attending to our own families and staff from day one onwards we use any resource available to help families in the neighbourhood. Initial help will be providing/sharing from our village resources to families with children, anything which is of help and can be made available (water, clothing, food, medicine, construction material, and so on).
Since the Village in Cap Haitien in the North seems to be not as severely affected as the southern one, we are proposing to set up a resource base to help in Port au Prince. The main resource base however is currently being set up with the support of our colleagues in the Dominican Republic (which is the other part of the same physical island). SOS there have started helping already. Qualified staff with experience in trauma and family tracing are being brought together from various countries in Central and Latin America.
Our team in SOS Dominican Republic has started purchasing goods and the first truck will leave on Saturday morning.
Cooperation with other organisations is sought to be more efficient in the help. Contacts have been already made with the major INGOs in the Dominican Republic and will also reach out to UN agencies.
We have arranged for our Dominican Republic manager to fly into Haiti by helicopter today to access the SOS Children’s Village Santo and provide better information.
Phase II – Giving hope
As soon as some supplies are brought into Port au Prince our village will try to be a base for help for the community on a larger scale. However, we expect access problems to take a week to scale up to a sizeable quantity due to limited access.
We will initially focus on unaccompanied children and orphans, as is our usual approach. Working outward from the greater neighbourhood of the village in Port au Prince we try to take in hand the several hundred families we know from the family strengthening programme. We plan to set up some programmes in other locations as well. Programmes will consist of the following types:
- Temporary shelter for unaccompanied children in our two villages or other locations,
- Safe areas for mothers with children,
- Food, medicine, clothing, shelter materials,
- Trauma support,
- Reunification programmes for families and children,
- and additional activities according to needs
Phase III – Rebuilding
After the immediate crisis we will help families to rebuild houses and their livelihood/income generation, help communities to rebuild infrastructure e.g. schools, renovate our own damaged facilities, and set about finding long term loving solutions for the unaccompanied children where no surviving family can be traced.