Minister calls on aid groups to think about rebuilding Haiti ahead of rainy season
MONTREAL (CP) — Canada’s minister of international co-operation wants aid groups working in Haiti to prepare for the next phase of the relief effort: the rainy season.
At a meeting of the international Red Cross in Montreal, Bev Oda said Tuesday that organizations will need to focus on longer-term reconstruction projects. Shelter is a key concern. Heavy rains have already hit parts of the country and it is only a matter of time before the devastated capital of Port-au-Prince receives torrential downpours.
Those rains are expected to compound existing concerns over health and sanitation in the city’s new temporary neighbourhoods, which largely consist of tarp and bedsheet tents.
“ The immediate aftermath you’re always trying to respond to the emergencies, to the immediate injuries, to keeping people alive and getting their needs met,” Oda said.
“I think now is the time to also start thinking about how they are going to move forward. We know that in Haiti the rainy season will start soon. As well, there are many, many discussions happening about rebuilding Haiti.”
The Red Cross meeting is aimed at better co-ordinating the group’s efforts in Haiti since last month’s massive earthquake.
Red Cross officials say they hope to stabilize the country by providing longer-term shelter ahead of the rains.
There are more than 300 international Red Cross and Red Crescent workers currently in Haiti.
“One of the most urgent aspects is to put in place shelter that are able to stand up to the rainy season,” said Conrad Sauve, secretary-general of the Canadian Red Cross Society.
“ We can’t install tents that aren’t able to stand up to the wind and rain. So we’re in the process of looking at solutions for shelters that we can reinforce.”