Rehousing Haiti’s earthquake victims is no easy task

Land for housebuilding is in short supply, ownership is often contested, and there’s a policy to help people move away from Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince

Homes are being built for people who lost their house during the 2010 earthquake and have decided to resettle in the Anse-a-Pitres area, about 80km from the capital Port-au-Prince. Photograph: Kate Ferguson/Christian Aid

To outsiders, this looks like yet more evidence of the “failure” of the humanitarian effort since the earthquake. Yet, like so many intractable problems, the factors slowing down the building of permanent homes are a lot more complicated – and it is not something that NGOs can address on their own.

Another major factor that has slowed rebuilding is the fact that people also need access to employment. There is no point building lots of houses on derelict land far away from any earning possibilities.

Christian Aid has concentrated its rebuilding efforts in the countryside in line with the Haitian government’s policy of decentralisation. Many people moved to the capital from the country over the last few decades as it became more and more difficult to earn a living off the land.

By providing new homes and livestock to families who want to make a new start in the country, we are trying to reverse the trend that led to the capital being overcrowded and dangerous.

A completed house in Anse-a-Pitres. Photograph: Kate Ferguson/Christian Aid

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About fromourisland

Gardener, knitter, wife, mother of 2, grandmother, and lots more.
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