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Home Publications Blogs Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch NPR Contrasts Conditions in Two IDP Camps

NPR Contrasts Conditions in Two IDP Camps

Monday, 24 May 2010 15:43
A revealing NPR story over the weekend contrasts two IDP camps which are situated directly across the street from one another. Camp Ancien Aeroport Militaire is home to some 50,000 people, one resident described the camp as "hell", according to NPR. Eugene, injured in the quake, lives with his 6 children under a tarp, NPR describes his living conditions:
When it rains, his roof leaks. Food distributions are chaotic, if they happen at all. The toilets are so full of sewage that Eugene says he can't even use them.
The contrast with what stands across the street however is most amazing:
More than 500 large white tents are laid out in rows on an expanse of leveled gravel. There are rows of brand new toilets. There are shipping containers fitted with clean shower stalls that have never been used. Tarps from the U.S. Agency for International Development are draped over each tent.
Yet, "Security guards at the camp say they have orders to keep almost everyone out." There is also confusion regarding who is responsible for the camp. While the International Organization for Migration pointed NPR to the Haitian Interior Ministry, they were then sent to the Shelter Cluster. And so while "hundreds of thousands of Haitians ride out the pounding nightly rains under little more than a plastic tarp," at the pristine camp:
The tents have been sitting untended for so long that some of them have collapsed. Others are filled with stagnant rainwater.
Also from NPR, This American Life aired a three part story on Haiti last Friday. To read a synopsis and listen to the entire story, click here. The report attempts to answer the question “How come life [in Haiti] wasn't improving, even before the earthquake?”, despite that “there are thousands of philanthropic groups in Haiti whose aim is to make life better for Haitians.” While there have long been and continue to be numerous problems with aid in Haiti, the report ignores a significant factor: the history of U.S. intervention in the Haitian economy, including a crippling aid embargo imposed on Haiti in the early 2000’s that prevented Haiti from receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and aid for potable water, health, and education, and the forced eradication of the native pig population, to mention just a few examples.

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