Entries in IDPs (29)


Evictions of Homeless Earthquake Victims: How the Government Treats the Most Vulnerable in Haiti

By Etant Dupain

Nearly three years after the earthquake in Haiti, nearly 400,000 people remain humiliated and forgotten in camps, while at the same time impoverished urban neighborhoods – slums or bidonvil – have grown and sprung up in new places. Since the arrival of the new government and President Martelly, there has been a strategy of forced systematic evictions, that have exacerbated the problem, feeling like injury upon injury for the victims of the January 12 earthquake who continue to live in camps.

It isn’t a secret that President Martelly does not believe people are living in tents because they are homeless. He stated this himself in an interview with Al Jazeera. Martelly said:

“people leave their homes, they come under the tents because they know because they know that there they are going to have free food, free water, free assistance and they won’t be paying rent, they won’t be paying electricity. So some people are living under the tents but it’s more of a business deal than actually living under the tents.” (see the video of President Martelly here, begins around minute 43) 

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Alice Walker Statement on Haiti and Tropical Storm Isaac

A homeless earthquake survivor sits in front of her makeshift shelter in Kanaran, outside Haiti's capital. Photo by BVK

I was recently in Haiti, and what I experienced there made my heart very sad for humanity.  Two and a half years ago, when Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake, I, like so many others around the globe, sent what aid I could to the people who lost, if not their lives, then almost everything else: housing, clothing, schools, food, among other basic things. 

It was shocking to realize, in Haiti as of last week, that the funds so generously and thoughtfully gathered by the collective human family in an attempt to stand by the people of Haiti who suffered the most from the earthquake, never reached them.  That over 400,000 persons: women, men, children, the elderly, the infirm, the mentally stressed, are still homeless, having (some of them) been moved to an internal refugee camp in a desert with no visible sources of either water or food. 

In a former soccer field in the inner city neighborhood of Solino, hundreds of families live crammed together under tents 32 months after the earthquake. Photo by BVK

Dreading the likely impact this week-end of oncoming tropical storm and possible hurricane Isaac on the fragile tents and shanties displaced Haitians are attempting to live in I can only ask that, again, collectively, humanity will rouse itself to demand to know where are the funds sent with such faith after the earthquake.  Why are so many Haitians still homeless?  Why are so many without adequate shelter, commiseration, compassion and food? Why are we not allowed to care for each other as we very much wish to do?  As a film made about this mismanagement of apparently everything states in its title:  Where Did the Money Go? 

As catastrophic climate change tightens its grip on the planet, there are bound to be more disasters of the kind that has so harmed Haiti.  We would do well, as a human family, to make every attempt to remain steadfast in our support of one another as we face a future far from secure for any of us.

Alice Walker


Is There Hope for Haiti's Homeless? Al Jazeera Inside Story

Director of Let Haiti Live at TransAfrica, Melinda Miles, joined Jean Yves Point-du-Jour and Kevin Edmonds from the Canada Haiti Action Network to talk about the situation for Haiti's homeless more than two years after the earthquake. Take a look at the conversation on Al Jazeera's Inside Story. 

"Even before the earthquake struck Haiti, in a country of just ten million, hundreds of thousands were in need of housing. But after the quake the housing problem turned into a crisis, with nearly half of the homes in the capital suffering significant damage. The International Organization of Migration (IOM) says that the number of homeless is down from a peak of around 1.5 million to 400,000, which is a significant drop. So why are Haitians still angry? President Michel Martelly, along with the IOM, launched a housing program giving camp residents $500 in rental subsidies for a year."

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Amnesty International Urgent Action: Threatened Forced Evictions in Jalousie, Haiti

The Haitian authorities are preparing to evict some 450 families living in the capital, Port-au-Prince, claiming their homes are at risk of landslide. They have not consulted the families, or offered them adequate alternative accommodation or adequate compensation.

The 450 families live in the Jalousie neighbourhood, in the municipality of Petionville on a hillside overlooking Port-au-Prince. They have not been consulted, and have not been offered adequate alternative accommodation or adequate compensation.

Ministry of Environment officials went into Jalousie with police officers on 21 June and marked 450 houses for demolition within 15 days. They did not present a court order for the eviction or any other legal notice, and told the residents nothing about why their houses were to be demolished.

The Minister of Environment subsequently went on Haitian radio to declare that the houses are in an area vulnerable to landslides. The residents have also heard that the authorities have apparently offered 100,000 gourdes (approximately US$2,500) to all those who own their houses and 20,000 gourdes (approximately US$500) to those who are renting.

Residents, many of whom have lived in Jalousie for decades, told Amnesty International that they themselves had built the community and its infrastructure, including roads, houses, businesses and access to electricity. They said that if there are environmental concerns, the government should engage them in meaningful consultation instead of forcing them out of their homes without providing adequate alternative accommodation or adequate compensation.

Please write immediately in French or your own language: 

  • Calling on the authorities to halt immediately the threatened forced eviction of residents of Jalousie, who have not been consulted or offered adequate alternative accommodation or adequate compensation; 
  • Urging them to open a meaningful consultation with the community to explain the environmental concerns and discuss adequate alternative accommodation and adequate compensation. 

Michel Joseph Martelly 
Palais National 
Rue Magny, Port-au-Prince, Haiti 
Fax: + 1 202-745-7215 (via Haiti embassy in the USA) 
Twitter: @MichelJMartelly "Calling on Haitian President @MichelJMartelly to stop illegal forced evictions in Jalousie #Haiti Please RT" 
Salutation: Monsieur le Président/ 
Dear President 

Minister of the Environment 
Joseph Ronald Toussaint 
Ministre de l’Environnement 
Ministère de l’Environnement 
4 Impasse Acajou, Rue Pomeyrac 
Delmas 95, Petion-ville 
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre/ 
Dear Minister 

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below: 
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation         

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. 



ADditional Information

Jalousie’s population of approximately 60,000 has increased substantially since the devastating January 2010 earthquake. More than 400,000 people still live in makeshift tents in the capital and surrounding areas, many of whom are at risk of forced eviction. 
Name:  450 families 
Gender: both 

UA: 213/12 Index: AMR 36/007/2012 Issue Date: 17 July 2012 


Human rights investigation finds forty-one percent of families relocated under Haitian government’s housing program live in worse conditions than before the earthquake

Haiti’s Housing Crisis: Human rights investigation finds forty-one percent of families relocated under Haitian government’s housing program live in worse conditions than before the earthquake


(BOSTON, July 13, 2012)--- The Haitian government housing program is a not a durable or sustainable solution to Haitian’s tent-camp housing crisis, according to a survey of residents  conducted by the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI). The survey interviewed 75 households that had been relocated from six internally displaced persons (IDP) camps under the government’s housing program implemented by the International Organization of Migration (IOM).


The housing program (called the “16/6” Program), which affects only 5% of the camp population, subsidizes residents with up $500 to pay their rent for a year. The survey results indicated some positive results in the short-term.  Two-thirds of families reported that their living situation was better now than when living in the camps, and almost three-quarters said they felt safer now than they did living in the camp. 


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