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Skills needed in Haiti to deal with 'overwhelming' disaster

Engineering skills charity RedR has flagged the urgent need for skilled training on Haiti, to deal with the ongoing effects of the January 12 earthquake.

While the full assessment has yet to be made, an initial survey by the 2-person RedR/Bioforce team has spotted a: “a huge shortage of skilled local personnel in Haiti”, particularly in the following areas:

  • Logistical support for storage, distribution and warehousing
  • General management for people and project management, financial management and security. 
  • Camp management, site planning and structural assessment.
  • Water and sanitation skills will be in demand once more permanent sites are planned.   
  • As many international NGOs are working with local partners in Haiti, courses for the training of trainers were also requested.  

Maggie Heraty, part of the RedR/Bioforce assessment team said: “I have to say the scale of the response is overwhelming, I thought the tsunami was big, but this is much, much bigger. There are 900 international NGOs - the Federation of the Red Cross alone now has 500 expats in the country.

“And of course there must be thousands and thousands of local NGOs and church and community groups.  One international agency distributing tarpaulins, has 480 local partner agencies,” she said.

217,000 people are thought to have died in the earthquake, while 500,000 were left injured.

934,000 people are believed to be sleeping outside in formal camps in Port au Prince.

More expatriate relief is flooding into Haiti to deal with the disaster because so many of the local relief population died in the earthquake.

Once the final needs assessment report is complete, RedR will be able to gauge where the knowledge gaps exist in order to begin designing a training programme which responds to the needs of the aid organisations on the ground.

RedR’s new Country Director Rachel Searle is now in Haiti and recruitment for three trainers is in progress.

One will focus on logistics, another will train across general management, including humanitarian standards, and the third will be a technical trainer. Training will be based around short, open courses of one-two days duration, as well as on the job training and individual coaching.

The RedR/Bioforce training programme will begin by the end of February and more information on course content will be available once the assessment is complete.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Can local people be trained to help fill in the 'gap skills'? What is the educational system like in Haiti?

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