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Haitian Government Works on Plan to House Homeless Earthquake Survivors

  • Jeff Swicord

A tent city in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

A tent city in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

With an estimated 1.5 million people homeless from the earthquake in Haiti, the debate over how to temporarily house so many people has begun. Both the Haitian government and the United Nations are working on a plan for temporary camps around the capital Port-au-Prince.

Geta Joseph, 42, is feeling the stress of living in this tent city near the presidential palace. Aside from the occasional water truck, she says she has received no assistance from relief organizations. She says she survives by begging for leftovers from her neighbor. We asked if she was interested in moving into more permanent housing where food and water would be readily available.

"I wouldn't have any choice because my kids are gone, my husband is dead and my house broke down," she said. "I am on my own right now."

Plans are in the works for more than 10 large tent cities around the capital, Port-au-Prince. With more than one million displaced people, housing demands in the city are severe. The Haitian government, in concert with the United Nations, plans to establish organized camps with water, food and healthcare before the rainy season begins in May.

We visited one rumored site in the suburb of Croix-des-Bouquets. It now serves as a sports training facility. While there, we ran into Haitian Sports Minister Evans Lescouflair. He did not want to talk with us on camera, but he was adamant that his sports facility would not be a site.

"This is not going to be the site because already something is here. They haven't chosen yet. Not here," he told us.

Back in the city, several people we talked to said they wanted out of their current situation as soon as possible. Many Haitians are angry at their government. They accuse it of not doing enough to help the people.