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Hurricane Matthew, a destructive category 4 hurricane, struck the southern peninsula of Haiti on October 4th, 2016, killing 900 people and leaving 750,000 others in need of urgent assistance. The hurricane ruined livelihoods and damaged 120,000 buildings. More than 175,000 people sought refuge in 307 temporary shelters (as of November 11, 2016, OCHA), and roughly half a million sought refuge with friends, family and neighbors, or resorted to makeshift temporary shelters.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) conducted an Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA) in eight communes in the South and Grand’Anse departments to assess the feasibility of a market-based shelter response. The exercise sought to answer three critical questions related to the market of corrugated galvanized iron (CGI) sheets for roofing: (1) Does the CGI market system have the capacity to meet the needs of the most vulnerable?; (2) What are the constraints in the CGI market system that limit people’s access to sheeting?; and (3) Which types of market-based responses do potential beneficiaries and vendors prefer?
Before the hurricane, wholesalers either purchased CGI from Haitian manufacturers or imported. Vendors then bought the CGI from the wholesalers. Since the hurricane, more wholesalers have been importing CGI than buying locally. The most visible market impact of hurricane Matthew is the surge in demand for CGI. This surge is creating bottlenecks at the level of importers and wholesalers, which cause delays in delivery. Often, the quantity delivered to wholesalers or midlevel wholesalers does not correspond to the initial purchase request and fails to satisfy all customers. The price is inflated at all levels of the chain because the surge in demand outstrips supply.
Based on the estimated sheets purchased over the last three weeks in South and Grand’Anse and the potential capacity of importing, producing, transporting and storing CGI in Haiti, the market can technically meet the demand of the most vulnerable, but quality CGI is not available and the target group would not be able to afford it if it were. One producer, ACRA, can produce 10,000 CGI sheets per week that meet minimum quality standards, which means 280,000 sheets could be produced over the course of the upcoming dry season. The other half million sheets that meet minimum quality requirements would need to be imported.
The report makes the following recommendations for the shelter response in Haiti: “Build Back Better” training for the targeted community;combined local and regional procurement (LRP) and conditional commodity e-vouchers (CGI and other construction inputs) with a network of midlevel wholesalers to reach the target population in a cost effective manner; in very limited cases, LRP with direct distribution of quality CGI and other construction inputs to areas that absolutely don’t have access to markets and for essential community infrastructure; Cash-for-Work to rehabilitate markets and access roads, and to enable entire communities to have better market access more quickly; advocating for a better business environment and coordinating with traditional and non-traditional Shelter and NFI working group participants in order to “build back better;" and price monitoring and protection mainstreaming to make sure we do no harm to people and markets.