Life Continues, Fear Remains In Port-Au-Prince Relief Camps
By: Sabri Ben-Achour
November 9, 2010
On a barren, rocky outcropping overlooking Port-au-Prince, Haiti, it's time to celebrate. People gather in a hanger-sized tent for church in a camp of 450 families. The church is part of the rhythm that's taken hold in the settlement.
Despite calls by the Haitian government and aid agencies to resettle the camps outside of the over-populated capital, they are very much still present.
Markets have sprung up here and there between boulders. And there are all the tents. Although, they're actually more like shacks now, with frames made out of branches, wrapped up in tarps donated by World Vision.
People in the camps face unemployment, floods from the recent hurricane, fear of cholera, and a dearth of sanitary toilets.
It's a lot like what things were like 10 months ago. There are more tarps, a few more jobs funded by aid groups, but people are concerned about the same sorts of things, says Balthazar Jacques, who is sort of like a council member for one section of the camp.
Even as people and their concerns become semi-permanent, there is something looming on the horizon: This land is not theirs. They've been given a deadline of October 2011 to move.
People in the camp do not know where they'll go after that. One of the obstacles to moving the camps is the difficulty of finding free land to put them on. And it's still too early to see exactly how that's going to get resolved.
When you give to WAMU, your tax-deductible membership gift helps make possible award-winning programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Diane Rehm Show, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and other favorites.