News / Americas

Violence Obstructs Resettlement for Haiti Quake Victims

Lisa Schlein

More than 1.5 million people remain homeless in Haiti nearly six months after a devastating earthquake hit that Caribbean island state.  The International Organization for Migration says violence by organized gangs and land disputes are hampering resettlement efforts.

The International Organization for Migration says a planned emergency relocation of more than 1,100 displaced people has been called off because its staff was threatened with violence.

IOM spokesman Jared Bloch says IOM has been forced to temporarily suspend the move after armed thugs allegedly hired by landowners threatened to disrupt the operation.

He says this group of homeless people is living on a flood-prone plain, which has been declared a health hazard.  He says it is critical they be moved to a safer area quickly.  

"Some 263 families in the Parc Fleurieux area or Port-au-Prince are living next to a football field that is flooded with stagnant water contaminated by an open sewer," said Bloch.  "In this neighborhood, women are washing their clothes in a muddy creek and they are using water coming from a rain sewer.  Consequently, skin infections are widely reported as are malarial cases.  The Haitian government with IOM and international non-governmental actors agreed that the health situation of this group was critical and that urgent action was required to prevent a public health crisis." 

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti with terrifying force on January 12 killed an estimated 230,000 people and made more than 1.5 million people homeless.

Almost six months after this catastrophic event, daily life for the homeless remains a misery.  IOM estimates only about 10,000 of those whose homes have been destroyed have been resettled.

Bloch says many of the quake victims continue to live in tents and dilapidated homemade shelters.  He says it is unlikely that many of these flimsy structures will survive the violent storms or hurricanes forecast for the summer.

"Attempts by the government to acquire land by decree have had mixed success with the result that there is real little improvement to the plight of the displaced population," Bloch added.  "Efforts to return people to their own communities become thwarted by the lack of legal title, while law suits are threatened against those who remove rubble without permission."  

Bloch notes the violence that halted this week's planned resettlement operation was not a one-off experience.  He says aid workers confront such violence on a daily basis.  

He says IOM is encountering armed resistance against resettlement on a regular basis.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Pope's Relatives Killed in Argentina Car Crash

Family of pontiff's nephew killed after car plows into truck
More

Ex-Guatemalan Drug Kingpin Pleads Guilty to US Charges

Waldemar Lorenzana Lima, linked by authorities to Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, pleaded guilty to conspiring to import more than 450 kilograms of Colombian cocaine into US
More

Landmark Brazil Poll Brings Good News for Rousseff

Facing tough road to re-election, Rousseff has seen sharp recovery in approval ratings, voter support
More

Video Mexico Opens Energy Sector, but Investors May Hesitate

Mexican President Pena Nieto has signed into law changes designed to open it to private investment, though foreign companies are taking cautious approach
More

Video Obama Expected to Take Executive Action on Undocumented Immigrants

Congress has adjourned for a five-week recess without boosting federal funds to house and process child migrants - or reforming US immigration law
More

Saving Premies from Death or Disability

Major study says many eligible women not receiving effective, low cost treatments
More