Tens of thousands of people throughout the area slammed by the recent hurricanes in Haiti are in desperate need of employment, said the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Oct 6. The UNDP plans to initiate a policy and implementation process creating a social safety net which is currently absent.
In response to this urgent need, the immediate objectives of UNDP in Haiti are creating jobs and rehabilitating infrastructure and the environment to jump start recovery.
In line with these plans, UNDP is in need of resources for early recovery projects which would offer employment to up to 400,000 people and implement environmental strategies that would reduce the vulnerability of communities to natural disasters.
“Without a concerted effort of the international community and financial contributions from donors, we’re going to see more poverty, suffering and social instability,” said Joel Boutroue, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the head of UNDP in Haiti.
According to a UNDP public report, the organization expanded its team with operations, security to advance the complex recovery process in Haiti. This was done along with IT and early recovery advisers who drafted a detailed action plan for early recovery after the Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike storms.
“It’s an absolute imperative that we act immediately,” the Representative said.
One of UNDP’s priorities is revamping a watershed management programme in the worst affected city, Gonaives. Prior to the four devastating storms, the programme, implemented with WFP, ILO and FAO, employed 7,000 people who built dikes and water walls, planted trees against landslides and carried out similar activities aimed at protecting the human habitat and agricultural products.
As the city of Gonaives remains inaccessible and heavily flooded, the US$3 million watershed management programme, supported by France and Japan, could gradually resume in one to three weeks. According to Boutroue, it will be be impossible to return to normalcy without an injection of additional financial resources into the Haitian economy in the form of similar large labour-intensive programmes.
“Only smart policies and programs, combining environmental planning with labour-intensive activities can prevent social upheavals and further poverty and suffering from natural disasters,” added Boutroue.
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