Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), along with fifty-two of her colleagues in the House of Representatives, has written a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the U.S. Administration to take immediate steps to address the dire conditions in the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Haiti. More than a year after the earthquake, almost a million people are still living in appalling conditions.
The letter raises concern about the following:
- The lack of access to clean water, adequate shelter and sanitation.
- Camp residents’ vulnerability to diseases such as cholera, which has killed more than 4,600 people since October.
- The lack of security and the increase in rape and other forms of gender based violence.
- The increasing number of IDPs who are forcibly evicted from camps with no other viable options for housing. One in four of all people living in these camps are threatened with forced eviction.
As Haiti faces another rainy season, which is fast approaching, people in these camps are especially vulnerable as conditions continue to deteriorate.
The letter calls on Sec. Clinton to:
- Work with international partners and the Haitian authority to “ensure a speedy, short-term response to the immediate shelter, water, sanitation and security needs of the IDPs.
- Strive to develop a transitional and long term solution to these concerns.
- Ensure accountability and transparency especially from the organizations that receive U.S. government funding to work in these camps.
- Collaborate and consult with Haitians, especially the ones who are living in these camps. The letter states, “If there is any constant in the criticism that has been directed at relief efforts in Haiti, it is that the international community has failed to adequately consult and coordinate with the Haitians receiving assistance.”