UNDP calls for US$35.6 million to help Haitians recover

15 Jan 2010

New York – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is calling for US$35.6 million for immediate recovery assistance in Haiti following Tuesday’s massive earthquake. Immediate responses will include the clearing of rubble and rehabilitating essential social infrastructures, such as street repairs and electricity, to facilitate urgently needed assistance. UNDP will also carry out cash-for-work programmes to jump-start the local economy.

The appeal, part of a wider UN flash appeal for $575 million, comes as UNDP gears up to provide time-critical early recovery assistance to affected populations.

“The United Nations is working closely with governments around the world to meet immediate humanitarian needs, and to co-ordinate early recovery consistent with addressing longer term development goals. Haiti will need tremendous support to recover from this terrible disaster,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.

Many of the people in the hard-hit capital, Port-au-Prince, do not have access to food, water, shelter and electricity. UN emergency teams on the ground estimate that 10 percent of the buildings in the city have been destroyed, leaving 300,000 people homeless and many are fleeing the destruction. The full extent of casualties and damage remain unknown but are expected to be high.

“We are still in the search-and-rescue phase, and we are trying to save as many lives as possible,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

However, with the airport’s capacity limited, roads still blocked and the lack of transport and fuel within Haiti, the logistical situation, the Secretary-General stressed, is a very difficult one.

UNDP, in its capacity as the coordinator of the UN early recovery team, will work with the Government of Haiti and other partners to assess damages and needs, and devise plans for rebuilding. Priority assistance will focus on labor–intensive activities, in the form of cash for work, to clear debris and rehabilitate basic infrastructure. This will further contribute to reduce social tension in affected communities, also laying ground for sound and timely recovery and reconstruction activities in coordination with national authorities. The goal is to create 220,000 temporary jobs benefiting approximately 1,050,000 people.

UNDP most recently implemented income-generating activities in Haiti in the wake of several deadly hurricanes in 2008, and capacities and partnerships with NGOs developed after those storms will be tapped in the present crisis. For example, in 2008, UNDP, the International Labour Organization and International Organization for Migration worked with other organizations and the Haitian Government to devise and approve a cash-for-jobs system that includes already established standards for wages and food rations, a system that is being adopted for the earthquake recovery process.

More than 300 UN personnel are still missing or unaccounted for, including 72 UNDP staff. Thirty-seven military and civilian MINUSTAH personnel, as well as one staff member with the UN World Food Programme, are confirmed dead.

Go to ReliefWeb to track contributions to the Flash Appeal.