Oxfam: Time to Lead on Haiti’s Tent Cities

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Above: a tent city in Haiti (Photo: UN)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

International aid group Oxfam warned that leadership is needed from new Haitian President Michel Martelly’s government to help the 630,00 people still living in tent cities in the country.

Relocating the over-600,000 people still living in the camps was never going to be a quick fix,” said Roland Van Hauwermeiren, country director for Oxfam in Haiti. “But the new government, once confirmed, must take key decisions on issues that are preventing people from leaving the camps.”

According to Van Hauwermeiren, the need for help included settling legal issues over land tenure, creating jobs to help people pay rent and removing rubble still covering streets.

Another threat existed for residents of Haiti’s tent cities: eviction.

“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.

Martelly has developed plans to close six camps with approximately 25,000 people.

Almost a quarter of refugees living in these cities face the threat of eviction, according to a recent report by the International Organization for Migration.