Toronto Haiti Action Committee

Solidarity. Not Charity. Never Occupation

Toronto Haiti Action Committee - Solidarity. Not Charity. Never Occupation

Press Release: New report on housing by Mark Schuller

The first in a series of four reports on housing conditions and relocation was published today. Based on research conducted in July and August 2012 by Mark Schuller, with funding from the National Science Foundation, Homeward Bound? Assessing Progress of Relocation from Haiti’s IDP camps is available on the Institute for Justice and Democracy (IJDH) website.

Striking Haiti on its way to the United States’ eastern seaboard in late October, Hurricane Sandy exposed the precariousness of the estimated 370,000 people still living under tents almost three years after the devastating earthquake.

Yet the population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) peaked at 1.5 million. As a report from the US State Department pointed out, the current IDP population is estimated at 25% of this total. Much has been said about the efforts of the international community to rehouse this vulnerable population, particularly President Michel Martelly’s “16/6″ program and the NGO programs that have followed.

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In the News: Too Soon for Carnival: Sweeping Haiti’s 400,000 Poor Back Under the Rug

For those who haven’t been to Haiti for a while, or for those who have never been but have seen the hell on earth portrayed in the media, the fact that Champs-de-Mars and other plazas in Port-au-Prince are no longer home to thousands of people is a symbol of progress.

Celebrating this “liberation” of public spaces, President Martelly is planning a Carnival des Fleurs, a tradition under Duvalier, scheduled to begin July 29, a day after the anniversary of the 1915 U.S. invasion.

For the 390,276 people the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates who are still under ripped sheets of plastic or tarp, it’s too soon to celebrate.

Many believe this relocation of camps on highly-visible areas is akin to sweeping the garbage off the floor only to have it out of sight and out of mind, in someone else’s backyard. Where are people going?

For its part, the IOM is keeping track of people they have relocated in the 16/6 program. But the 16/6 camps only account for 5 percent of the total camp population.

And for the others? “Nou pa konnen.” We don’t know.

Read the rest at the Huffington Post

Haiti’s earthquake victims step up demands for housing

By Roger Annis & Kim Ives, July 4, 2012

The following article was published on the Haiti blog of Rabble.ca. It also appears in the July 4 issue of Haiti Liberté newsweekly.

The plight of some 400,000 Haitians still living under tarps and tents since the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake has surged into the streets and headlines in recent weeks, highlighting one of Haiti’s most explosive and intractable issues. A new grassroots campaign, an international petition, several new reports, and street demonstrations are underscoring the problem’s urgency.

On May 31, dozens of protesters mobilized by the Forces for Reflection and Action on Housing Matters (FRAKKA) demonstrated in front of the office of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe to denounce the broken promises of Haitian government officials to provide housing for earthquake victims. “We in FRAKKA have noted the growing speed of forced expulsions against the displaced people camps,” said Rénel Sanon, FRAKKA’s Secretary General.

For almost one year now, the government of President Michel Martelly has trumpeted a program entitled ‘16/6’ under which about 30,000 residents of six large camps would be resettled to their original but repaired 16 neighborhoods, all of which were badly damaged by the quake. The program has been heavily supported by foreign governments, including Canada. To encourage people to leave camps, residents were told they will receive a one-year rental subsidy of $500 per family.

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