Appeal underscores “widespread” fear among people of Haitian descent
NASSAU, BAHAMAS- The International Organization for Migration has launched a $10 million funding appeal for Hurricane Dorian relief operations in The Bahamas.
The appeal has allocated $2.5 million for camp coordination and management, $2.4 million for shelter support and non-food items and $1 million for early recovery efforts, with the remaining funding to go to information management, protection, and public works like large-scale debris removal.
It claims vulnerable Haitian migrants, as well as documented migrants and Bahamians of Haitian descent, fear arrest and deportation after losing documents in the storm.
The appeal furthered those migrants were living in “very precarious conditions” even before the deadly Category 5 hurricane splintered shantytown communities.
The IOM’s camp coordination and management covers efforts to assist government plans to establish a site for 2,000 people in Spring City, Abaco.
IOM’s shelter allocation will assist families – who can return to their homes with small-scale repairs through the provision of cash and/or labor, technical advice and tool-kits.
It underscored the government’s Prohibition to Build Order in shantytown communities has left populations without land to rebuild; and outlined plans to conduct a rapid assessment of Bahamian land and property.
The IOM’s funding requirement covers operations from September 2019 until April 2020. The agency is reportedly working to establish an office in Nassau (New Providence), Marsh Harbour (Abaco), and Freeport
Early recovery efforts include plans to coordinate temporary employment or voluntary work of displaced populations affected by Hurricane Dorian. It cited “immediate needs to increase household income and enhance coping capacity and resilience, while strengthening social cohesion”.
The report added host communities in areas of displacement would be considered where possible, adding the lack of access to basic services and limited opportunities “may lead to tensions between displaced and
“On Abaco Island,” the appeal read, “following the Hurricane, Haitian communities have been decimated, with thousands of men, women, and children displaced. Some Haitians have gone to official shelters on New
Providence and other islands while others have not left the island.
“While many Haitian migrants have regular status, others are undocumented and fear arrest and deportation, and have therefore avoided contact with rescuers. Fear is however widespread, even among documented migrants and Bahamian nationals of Haitian descent, some of whom have lost their documents in the hurricane.”
The appeal highlighted the IOM’s Caribbean Needs Assessment on Migration Governance in 2018, which stated 25 % of the national population of the Bahamas are Haitian nationals – including both regular and irregular
It noted training for humanitarian actors on victim identification, assistance and referral; sensitization for front-line officers and service providers, was a primary need identified by The Bahamas government during the IOM’s 2018 needs assessment. “The situation on Grand Bahama and Abaco islands has deteriorated rapidly. Affected sites, particularly in central Abaco, are destroyed and remain uninhabitable,” the appeal read.
The IOM is an inter-governmental organization linked to the United Nations but it does not receive core funding.
It works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners to promote humane and orderly migration management.
The Bahamas is one of 173 member states.
As part of early recovery, the IOM will also “conduct market assessment, including rapid labor market assessment and where appropriate supply chain analysis, to identify sources of income for displaced people.”
The organization will also provide market-based programming, such as asset replacement grants, training for employment and job placement programmes, and for using appropriate modalities such as conditional cash transfer.