News / Americas

Haitian Government Working to Move Camps Before Rainy Season

The rainy season in Haiti begins shortly and the government is rushing to complete a new camp for those left homeless by the earthquake

Sylva Louis has lived in the sprawling refugee camp of Champs de Mars in downtown Port au Prince, Haiti's capital, since the January 12 earthquake (file photo)
Sylva Louis has lived in the sprawling refugee camp of Champs de Mars in downtown Port au Prince, Haiti's capital, since the January 12 earthquake (file photo)
Jeff Swicord

Haiti's rainy season begins in the next few weeks and government officials are working to get victims of the January earthquake into better shelters.  A top priority is to move the people living in the park known as Champs de Mars located across from the destroyed presidential palace. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports from Port Au Prince, the government is putting the finishing touches on a more permanent camp outside the city center.

Sylva Louis has lived in the sprawling refugee camp of Champs de Mars in downtown Port au Prince since the earthquake on January 12.  The Government has made it a priority to move residents before the rainy season begins in a few weeks.  And many like Sylva are uneasy.

"I am not working, the country is messed up. Now you are telling me you want to send me somewhere were I don't know nobody.  How am I going to live?  How am I going to survive? At least right here I know these people.  I might be able to get a plate of food from one of them," Louis said.

Champs de Mars has undergone a transformation since the earthquake.  Two months ago, people were living out in the open or under tents made of blankets and sheets.  Now many have spent as much as a year's salary building structures of wood and tin. And businesses like this bar and music store have opened up.

The government says they cannot stay here, and recently offered residents five options, ranging from returning to their old home to moving to a government built camp like this one outside the city center.

Workers were busy finishing the toilet and shower facilities when we visited.  It will house 8,000 people in tents.  Fifty security guards will be on duty around the clock.  There are plans for basketball courts and a football field.  And a well for water was recently drilled.  Seventy percent of the residents are expected to come from Champs de Mars.

Most of the Champs de Mars residents we talked to were willing to move.  Twenty-six year-old Louis Jacques Franto told us if the government wants to move us that is fine, as long as it is safe.

Jeanne Baptiste Barthelmy says she would like to have a better shelter.  The plastic tarp that serves as the roof of her house fills with water when it rains.   The pools become a breeding ground for mosquitos.

But her mother who lives nearby is sick.  And she is worried she will not be able to visit as often if she is housed far away.

The government will begin moving people out of Champs de Mars in the next few weeks.  Hopefully, the rains will hold off until then.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Guatemala Congress Opens Door for Prosecution of President

With 132 of 158 lawmakers approving a measure to strip immunity, prosecutors now can file criminal charges against Perez Molina just like any other citizen
More

Rio Olympics Official: Water Will Be Clean for Games

Recent report says waters so contaminated with bacteria and viruses from human sewage that athletes could become ill
More

UN: El Nino Could Be Among Strongest on Record

Meteorologists say climate models suggest water temperatures in the tropical Pacific are likely to exceed 2 degrees Celsius above average
More

Awaiting American Avalanche, Cubans Rush to the Beach

Locals flood resorts ahead of possible end to the US travel ban that would open the gates to American tourists and bump up prices
More

At Halfway Mark, Mexican President's Approval at New Low

Enrique Pena Nieto faces struggling economy, litany of security and conflict of interest scandals that have undercut his support
More

Santos: Colombia Peace Talks Have Advanced Significantly

The government has been holding negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, since the end of 2012
More