Six months after Haiti’s
devastating earthquake, 1.5 million people live in tent cities and camps
because they can’t or won’t leave, observers say.
The 1,340 tent cities and
camps can be found on public plazas, ballfields, schoolyards, a nine-hole golf
course, even a median strip, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.
Many residents, who live in
tents or makeshift shacks, lost their homes in the quake, which the government
said killed 300,000 people. Others lost jobs, couldn’t pay higher rents in the
post-quake housing shortage or afford higher costs of maintaining property
passed on by landlords who have to meet tougher building standards.
The camps contain as many as
7,000 people each and some have committees of residents running things.
One of Port-au-Prince’s
biggest camps sits across from the collapsed National Palace. From cinder
block, tin and wood quake debris, residents have created homes, hair salons,
bars and restaurants.
The Herald said residents
are desperate for help from international organizations and the government.
“I would like to go to
another place but I don’t have the means,” said Claude Eagenor, 42, who lives
in the camps with his wife and two children.
The New York Times reported
Sunday that only 28,000 of the 1.5 million Haitians displaced by the earthquake
have moved into new homes.
Hundreds of displaced
families live in a single row of shanties along a median strip along a
congested coastal road in Port-au-Prince. Vehicles spewing exhaust pass
constantly but rarely stop. Sometimes, cars hit and kill or injure residents,
the Times said.