The Petionville golf course in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, before and after the devastating earthquake that struck the country on 12 January 2010. Credit: Yahoo map, and Google map
Residents must be consulted on new camps

Survey shows few Haitians willing to move far to camps outside the city

“If new camps are set-up then people should be not be forced to go. The camps should be safe to reduce criminality and protect vulnerable groups such as women and children.”
Marcel Stoessel
Oxfam's Head of Emergency, Haiti
Published: 8 February 2010

Camp residents have little official information about plans to re-site camps

Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Less than a third of people living in one of the largest camps in Port au Prince say that they are willing to move to camps sited outside the city according to a snap-shot survey carried out by international agency Oxfam. If the new improved camps are established close to where they used to live then the proportion willing to move leaps to nearly three quarters.

The survey also revealed that there is little official public information available about plans to move people to new camps. Whilst 63 per cent had heard of the Government plans to resettle people, none had heard it directly from the Government and none had been consulted.

Some 13 per cent of people had heard of the plans from friends, 10 percent from the local radio and just one per cent had heard it from non-governmental organizations.

People surveyed said that any new camp would have to provide the very basics of housing, food, water and medical services as well as employment and schools.

“Living conditions of people in the camps need to be rapidly improved. Many of the current sites will not suitable due to the coming raining seasons which, without adequate drainage and sanitation, threatens to wash away shelters and cause health hazards”, said Marcel Stoessel, Oxfam’s Head of Emergency in Haiti.

Stoessel: “If new camps are set-up then people should be not be forced to go. The camps should be safe to reduce criminality and protect vulnerable groups such as women and children. They should also be seen as temporary solutions not end up as long term slums outside the city limits.”

According to Oxfam there is still no clarity on plans to re-site new camps and there needs to be meaningful consultation with camp residents so that they can make informed decisions.

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See larger version of before/after image of the former Petionville Golf Course, where Oxfam is using the irrigation system of the golf course to distribute water around the camp

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Notes to Editors

On 3 February 2010, Oxfam conducted a brief face to face questionnaire survey of those who had lost their homes in the earthquake in order to better understand their opinion about the Government’s intention to establish new settlements.

Oxfam surveyed 110 persons (56 female, 54 male leads of families) at the Petionville Golf Club in Delmas, Port au Prince.

Oxfam which has worked in Haiti for many years, is currently helping 80,000 people with water, sanitation, hygiene promotion, emergency shelter, cash for work schemes and distribution of essential items. It plans to help a total of 500,000 people.