Haiti: Leadership needed to relocate the 630,000 people still living in tents
Eighteen months after the country's devastating earthquake the crisis in Haiti is still not over
International agency Oxfam today warned that leadership from the new Haitian government is urgently needed to relocate the 630,000 people who are still living under tents and tarpaulins.
These people face many challenges; hurricane season is underway, cholera remains a threat, as does forced eviction from camps. The Haitian government, with help from the international community, must implement a relocation strategy so that those living in camps can resettle or return to their homes.
“Relocating the over 600,000 people still living in the camps was never going to be a quick fix. But the new government, once confirmed, must take key decisions on issues that are preventing people from leaving the camps. This includes settling legal issues over land tenure, creating jobs so that people can pay rent, and removing the rubble which remains on the streets,” said Roland Van Hauwermeiren, country director for Oxfam in Haiti.
Over 100.000 under threat of being forcibly evicted
Recent reports confirm that over 100,000 people are under threat of being forcibly evicted from the camps where they have sought shelter over the past 18 months, this accounts for one in five people currently living in camps.
After the earthquake, hundreds of thousands of people whose houses had been damaged or destroyed sought refuge in the city's open spaces, its parks, car-parks, church and school courtyards. Most of these spaces are privately owned and now, 18 months later, some owners want their land back.
Although these land owners have a right to their land, the use of force and the intimidation of displaced people is not acceptable. People living on these lands must be offered a long-term and adequate solution to their housing needs.
Long-term relocation plan must ensure access to basic services
“The Haitian government must protect those people who have been displaced by the earthquake from now having to face the second trauma of being forcibly evicted from the camps where they have been living,” Van Hauwermeiren said. “We all agree that the camps are neither a long term nor a sustainable solution but people cannot be evicted from the camps without a fair alternative.”
President Michel Martelly has made some progress on this by developing plans to close six camps where approximately 25,000 people are living.
“While it is good to see progress being made on relocation of those living in these six camps, this must be done with a long-term relocation plan in place. The plan must ensure that these people have access to basic services such as drinking water, sanitation services, health care, education and employment opportunities so that they can finally start to rebuild their lives,” Van Hauwermeiren said.
Oxfam still providing support
Eighteen months after the earthquake, Oxfam is providing access to water, latrines and showers to over 100,000 people, as well as supporting water committees in more than 30 sites in Port-au-Prince. These committees are formed by people living in the camps who take charge of the delivery of drinking water and the management of the latrines and showers.
Due to the new cholera outbreak in June 2011, Oxfam widened its cholera response program to reach an extra 77.000 people in one of the most affected zones and continues to monitor the situation in different parts of the capital and rural areas.
A set of programs focused on promoting small enterprises is already in place. In the coming weeks, 160 entrepreneurs will receive a mixture of cash grants, loans and professional training to increase their profitability and stimulate job creation within their community.
RT @OxfamIreland: Ireland pledges €2.5 million in aid to Mali to contribute to reconstruction http://t.co/wvUzsRsHoD via @IrishTimes #Mal…3 hours 38 min ago
As @UN Disaster Risk Reduction Conference ends, worth checking #GPDRR13 for great tweets from @unisdr @UNOCHA @Federation et al4 hours 9 min ago
RT @UNOCHA: Only 3% of all #humanitarian aid was allocated towards disaster prevention & preparedness measures in 2012 - http://t.co/cT0OwU…4 hours 13 min ago
As food scandals hit the headlines, is food safety a casualty of today’s high & volatile #foodprices? http://t.co/Yuh7N0RUtN4 hours 39 min ago
RT @OxfamAmerica: Our deepest sympathies to @DivineChocolate on the loss of Christiana Ohene-Agyare, Pres. of Kuapa Kokoo in #Ghana http://…5 hours 32 min ago
What success at the #G8 would look like: 'We’ll stop hurting our brothers & sisters' http://t.co/yjtQNoc64W #land #taxjustice6 hours 28 min ago
Ban Ki-moon's visit to Goma, #DRC welcomed following new explosion of violence, but its causes need to be addressed http://t.co/2wATHBmLrm7 hours 24 min ago
Why is Russia still arming #Syria? Interesting @NYTimes editorial http://t.co/mDrecVJf4v #oil #NYT #SyriaCrisis8 hours 12 min ago
Oops, correct link here to press release: ‘Squeezed’: how poor ppl are adjusting to rising #foodprices http://t.co/lgDXW3bjK08 hours 36 min ago
#EU leaders back the interests of an elite minority, fail to clamp down on #taxdodging http://t.co/VNbvkyMmyG @OxfamEU8 hours 51 min ago
RT @louis_press: Lebanon saw an increase of 12% of its population (500.000) w/ #refugees from #Syria = As if 7.5m would enter Great Britain…10 hours 9 min ago
RT @louis_press: Untold story of #syria war is the incredible generosity + hospitality of ppl of #Lebanon #Jordan #Iraq. Despite tensions, …10 hours 26 min ago
More than 80,000 people have been killed & several million displaced since the #SyriaCrisis began http://t.co/WYbyDUytmX #Syria10 hours 37 min ago
Delayed weddings & funerals: Today’s high #foodprices are exacting a deep social cost on poor people http://t.co/eUru4L7Y7811 hours 40 min ago
Risky jobs & domestic violence = the social cost of today’s high #foodprices http://t.co/UFZRYFYWqi new Oxfam & @IDS_UK report13 hours 11 min ago