Large numbers of Haitians are leaving the dirty, overcrowded camps that sprang up after last year’s earthquake, some lured away by financial incentives from officials and others forced out by landowners.
Many more may be pushed out, with no safe place to go, just ahead of the rainy season that starts in May, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a report distributed Friday.
The overall camp population already has dropped by more than half in recent months, to an estimated 680,000, the IOM said, even though almost no new housing has been built and few repairs have been made to dwellings damaged by the magnitude-7.0 quake on Jan. 12, 2010.
Nearly two-thirds of those who left the camps have gone back to their old neighborhoods, and fewer than half of those are returning to undamaged homes. Many are back in houses that need repair or in makeshift shelters or tents on their property. Others have found new areas, in houses or apartments, staying with friends or relatives or pitching new camps on their own.
“We came back to the house because we had no choice,” said Francois Joseph-Ifanord, 62, who said security guards kicked him off the grounds of a private tennis club court where 30 families were living in shelters. “Now we’re living day by day.”
Aid groups say the biggest factor has been forced evictions by property owners. In dozens of places, from school yards to shopping plazas, owners already have made people move out…CONTINUE ARTICLE