Record of the Emergency Directors Meeting on Haiti, 14 January 2010

RECORD OF THE Emergency Directors Meeting ( EDM) on THE HAITI EARTQUAKE 14 January 2010, New York Present: UNICEF, UNFPA, UNHCR, OHCHR, FAO, UNDP, WHO, CARE, Mercy Corps, ICVA, IMC, World Vision, Interaction, Oxfam, IFRC, ICRC, OCHA Issues of Concern Search & Rescue The first priority for humanitarian response is urgent search and rescue assistance, including teams with vital heavy-lifting equipment and medical assistance and supplies. An UNDAC team has begun assembling in Port-au-Prince to coordinate Search & Rescue efforts and a reception centre has been established at the airport. The team faces a struggle in coordinating with Haitian Government counterparts. Lack of assessment information Some 3.5 million people live in areas affected by strong shaking from the earthquake and casualties are expected to be in the tens of thousands. There is a lack of detailed assessment information but the provision of food, clean water and sanitation and emergency shelter is expected to be a critical requirement. The importance of ensuring that assessments are properly coordinated was emphasized. Assessments will be discussed in greater depth at the next EDM. Coordination A weak and further crippled Haitian Government has made coordination efforts by the UN, NGOs, and contributing governments challenging. The low barrier of entry into Haiti may lead to a large incidence of unsolicited and uncoordinated influx of humanitarian personnel and supplies entering into the country. It was noted that there is currently little control over agencies wishing to contribute to the response in Haiti and it was suggested that the NGO consortia could play a role in monitoring and assessing the capabilities of voluntary organizations wishing to help. The five clusters that have been mobilized so far have met in-country. They are Logistics ( WFP), Shelter/Non-food Items (IOM), Watsan (UNDP/Unicef), Health (WHO) and Food (WFP). Given the scale of the disaster, and the toll that this has taken on local capacity, global cluster leads have been asked to prioritise coordination capacity for the response and deploy cluster coordinators to support coordination on the ground. It was noted that the telecommunications cluster, identified as a priority, might be problematic. OHCHR is the protection cluster lead, but may require support from UNHCR and OCHA. One agency requested that the outcome of high level meetings between the SG, DPKO, the ERC and SE Clinton needed to be better communicated to the Principals of operational agencies. It was noted that SE Clinton could leverage his high profile to assist in the relief effort in addition to providing support to long-term recovery and reconstruction activities. Contact has been made with the RC in the Dominican Republic to support and monitor any population movements. The Secretary-General has dispatched ASG Edmond Mulet, the former SRSG for MINUSTAH, to Haiti to replace missing Special Representative H├ędi Annabi. DSRSG Kim Bolduc is also the designated Humanitarian Coordinator, and is likely to require additional support. As a result, the need for a Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator may be required. Logistics Access to people in need is difficult due to debris and obstacles on the roads. The U.S. military is upgrading the capacity of the Port-au-Prince airport. It was noted that the flow pattern of supplies should be monitored. The seaport in the Dominican Republic is being assessed for its suitability for receiving relief supplies. The logistics of moving relief teams and relief items by air, sea and by road from the Dominican Republic to Haiti will also be assessed. Panama is also likely to be used as a logistics hub. Getting humanitarian staff in and out of the country was identified as an issue. DPKO is establishing a shuttle flight from Santa Domingo to Port-au-Prince that can accommodate 40 -50 passengers. There is also concern that a fuel shortage could develop, affecting relief efforts. A shortage of basic supplies, including accommodation for relief workers was recognized. MINUSTAH may offer the use of transit camps, usually used for military troop rotations, as possible accommodation for relief workers. Civil Military Coordination MINUSTAH s capacity has been severely affected; however it is quickly resuming critical functions. The mission will still feature in the relief effort, despite the losses it has sustained. The U.S. military is heavily involved in the response effort; up to 10,000 U.S. troops may be involved in the response. However, there is no well-established mechanism to manage bilateral military assistance. A Senior OCHA Civil-Military Coordination Officer has been dispatched to Washington before deploying to Haiti with UNDAC to discuss coordination efforts with the U.S. military. OCHA has placed staff within the DPKO Situation Center in NY and is planning to do the same in the SRSG's office. UNDAC and the Iceland and US Search and Rescue teams have set up a reception centre at the Port-au-Prince airport. Flash Appeal A Flash Appeal (FA) will be launched on Friday 15 January 2010 on the basis of initial assessments of damages and needs. The accelerated FA is for six months and a revised FA will be prepared in 3-4 weeks to reflect new information, including longer-term recovery needs, and to update the funding requirements, as needed. Some people are expected to leave the earthquake affected cities and migrate to rural areas. There was a call to ensure that response plans include support to these areas. Insecurity Security for relief staff was identified as an ongoing concern. Law and order may break down with the arrival of relief supplies, leading to an increase in crime and potential mob scenarios. Information management of incidents to identify trends was recognized as a means of addressing the issue. There may be scope for the application of the Saving Lives Together Principles in Haiti. Traumatized Staff Psychosocial support for UN staff traumatized by the loss of family members and colleagues was identified as a need. The UN system will benefit from the provision of surge capacity in stress counseling. It was noted that agencies should ensure that their staff were not placed under undue pressure by replacing traumatized staff as appropriate. Banking The banking system is no longer functional, creating a challenge on how to get money in and out of the country. OCHA will look into this issue. Funding CERF has released $10 million as a first installment. A subsequent tranche may follow. Given the likelihood of significant bilateral and private sector support, emphasis should be placed on ensuring that OCHA s Financial Tracking System is up-to-date. The next Emergency Directors meeting will be held on Tuesday 19 January 2010 at 10.30 am New York time.

Publication date: 
January, 2010