New York Times: "Still Homeless in Haiti"

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Monday, 17 May 2010 11:01
Over five months have passed since the devastating earthquake struck Haiti in January, and although relief organizations say they have reached 100 percent of those in need of shelter, the reality on the ground is still dire. On Saturday, a New York Times editorial raised some of these important points, writing:
Of the more than 1.5 million Haitians left homeless by the Jan. 12 earthquake, about 7,500 have been moved from the most dangerous areas of crowded tent cities to new resettlement sites. The conditions in those tent cities are grim. Thunderstorms are fierce, and the plastic sheets and tarps distributed after the disaster are fraying, along with the people’s patience.

Meanwhile, the demand for secure housing keeps growing as people who fled the capital, Port-au-Prince, move back, because that’s where most of the aid is.
We have seen images of tarps failing under intense rain for months already, and while original estimates said that up to hundreds of thousands of people would need to be relocated before the rainy season, as the Times points out, only 7,500 have. The Times also raises another issue; the "Haiti’s government has been far too sluggish in finding and acquiring sites to build new housing."

However the Times fails to point out the role the international community could play in aquiring this land. Many large landholders in Haiti have close ties to the international community generally, and the US specifically. As yet, strong statements of support for plans to prioritize using land for displaced quake survivors have not been forthcoming from these actors, but could prove vital in generating support.

Tags: new york times | relocation | shelter | tarps