Int’l aid from Geneva: Haiti looking better, Syria mixed picture

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Two of the main Geneva-based aid organizations are reporting very different situations in the field this week. The IOM (International Organization for Migration) Tuesday 28 February announced the relatively good news that the number of people still living in camps in Haiti has fallen to under half a million people for the first time since the massive earthquake in 2010.

ICRC enters Hama for first time with blankets, hygiene kits

The ICRC (International Red Cross), which is publishing daily updates on its work in Syria, says it is entering the city of Hama for the first time, with emergency supplies for 12,000 people. But it reported Sunday  that efforts to remove scores of injured people from Syria were cut short when it failed to get the agreement of both government forces and rebels to a ceasefire that would allow it to provide emergency services.

Times journalist escapes; Bouvier may also be in Lebanon

Aljazeera reports Tuesday morning that one of the injured Western journalists hurt in the shelling that killed two others last week in Homs, Syria, has escaped to Lebanon. Paul Conroy, a photographer for the Sunday Times in the UK made it safely out of Syria and French reporter Edith Bouvier, who has made headlines with her video appeal from Homs, where she suffered a broken leg, may also be in Lebanon. Bouvier’s whereabouts has not been confirmed, according to Aljazeera.

Haiti situation: refugees being moved into new homes

The IOM reports that the reduction in camp numbers

“comes as the Government of Haiti’s newly created housing authority L’Unité de Construction de Logements et de Bâtiments Publics (UCLBP) starts to deliver results and the pace of relocation picks up. An initiative known as “16/6″ is helping earthquake displaced people living in six public spaces to return to sixteen communities which are undergoing redevelopment. It was launched by President Michel Martelly last year and a government-led steering committee is now setting the pace for reconstruction and relocation.

“In the last two weeks, under this programme, some 200 families have permanently left Champ de Mars, the historic plaza in front of the ruined National Palace. Over the coming months the square will be returned to public use under the project, which is funded by Canada.”