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Tabarre Issa camp

I visited Tabarre Issa camp last week. This was the first of the temporary camps designed to provide shelter for some of the 250,000 people most at risk from further damage by floods, mudslides and the hurricanes expected in the coming months.

Improved conditions

Tabarre is located just outside Port-au-Prince and is now home to 500 families, currently living in tents. Even though most people are still under canvass, the conditions are much better than the camps they left in the city. Each person has 50 square meters of space rather than the cramped four metre squared.

Long-term shelter

As people will be here for quite some time, Concern is making sure to look after longer term as well as immediate needs. Construction of more durable shelter is well underway.

Shelter layout

After consulting families here, Concern has designed wooden shelters to include a porch, separate sleeping areas for parents and children, a ventilated area for cooking with eco stoves and a washing room. Engineer Tom Dobbin (all the way from Ballynahinch) gave me a tour of the site’s drinking water system, areas for showers and latrines. With over 15 years experience in Concern projects, what Tom doesn’t know about water and sanitation could be written on the back of a piece of toilet paper.

Cash for work

We’re paying cash in return for work on the site. This gives people money to buy food and other essentials (supporting local markets too), as well as an active part in building their new community.

Leisure space

Along with a small medical centre, we are running an area for children in a big tent. This provides a safe, shaded and fun place to spend the day, playing and learning (link to child friendly spaces video). There’s even a football stadium – well, a small TV in a covered area that was full with people enthusiastically enjoying the Argentina v Germany match when I visited.

It is encouraging to see that Concern’s work can allow people some space to enjoy themselves, despite the circumstances.