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CHF Haiti: CHF Supporting Families Displaced by the January 2010 Earthquake

Published 05/16/2011 by Global Communities

CHF Haiti: CHF supporting families displaced by the January 2010 earthquake

PHOTO: CHF Program Coordinator Mr. Odule Augustin welcomes program beneficiaries to the first voucher distribution in Cap Haitien and explains the process.
CHF is currently providing assistance to families who fled to Cap Haitien after their homes in Port-au-Prince were destroyed by the January 2010 earthquake.
In the wake of that devastating earthquake, thousands of homeless survivors migrated to other parts of the country seeking refuge. A major fear of the Haitian government as well as the international community continues to be that these displaced residents will return to Port-au-Prince, which is already crowded with hundreds of thousands of jobless, landless people still living in tents. As Haiti’s second-largest metropolitan area, Cap Haitien has been one of the most popular settling points for those who evacuated from the capital seeking a new life.
At the request of USAID, CHF is therefore offering assistance to 768 needy families from Port-au-Prince who have relocated to the Cap Haitien area. While displaced individuals now live across the region, CHF is focusing exclusively on the key areas of Limbé, Limonade, and downtown Cap Haitien. Most families in the program have been living by the charity of friends or extended family for nearly a year-and-a-half, so any assistance they can help give back is appreciated. 

PHOTO: Ms. Nicole Gedine stands in front of a truck loaded with food and household goods she bought using her CHF voucher.
Each beneficiary family in CHF’s program receives US$600 worth of assistance, and can choose an aid package from one of three types:
First and most popular are food and household goods. Beneficiaries can cash in vouchers at participating local stores and collect consumables that they will use to support their families and hosts. The program offers many of the displaced their first opportunity to share costs with hosts who have shown them continued generosity.
Second are work tools. Skilled beneficiaries like farmers, plumbers, or mechanics can get tools that help them perform more complex work, recruit an assistant, or otherwise expand their opportunities for better income. In many cases, skilled workers lost their tools during the earthquake, so this represents a chance to recapitalize and start fresh. Unskilled beneficiaries can use new tools to break into the job market for wheelbarrow transport, construction work, and other day labor.
Third are small business grants. A large number of Haitians make a living as street food vendors, itinerant salesmen, and shopkeepers. As it happened with skilled laborers, many of these small business owners escaped Port-au-Prince with their lives, but failed to save their capital. Program beneficiaries thus plan to use their lump sum to re-establish their small businesses, this time in their new home of Cap Haitien.
After a long preparatory phase in March and April – during which time CHF mobilizers scoured the Cap Haitien area for potential beneficiaries and vetted candidates – CHF finally began voucher distribution on May 9. Only 5 days into the voucher distribution phase, program beneficiaries have cashed in 34% of their food and household goods vouchers, 75% of their work tool vouchers, and 72% of their small business grant vouchers.
CHF’s host family assistance program is its second in Cap Haitien – the first served 550 families in mid-2010. The current program for 768 families continues through the end of May. CHF’s host family assistance program is paid for with money from USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) through a grant by DAI International.