The perils of displacement in Haiti

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Nearly four months after the Haiti earthquake, the situation appears uniformly bleak for hundreds of thousands of people living in temporary encampments in and around Port-au-Prince, Ken Ellingwood reports in The Times. Some segments of the society want things to return to normal -- but how can normality be achieved with more than a million left homeless after the quake? Where will they go?

The Haitian soccer federation wanted to get a season underway, for example, which meant removing 3,000 who were living on the field of the Port-au-Prince soccer stadium. More than 1,300 families are still living under tarps in the stadium parking lot, preventing fans from showing up. In Croix-des-Bouquets, the private school Lycee Jean Jacques wants to resume classes, but that would mean removing about 10,000 people crowded into tents on its campus.


‘We are hungry,’ says a message painted on a wall at the school. ‘Give us food.’

Haiti’s government plans to build massive provisional housing sites for homeless earthquake survivors on the outskirts of the city, but hasn’t found enough land to put them on. The aid agency Oxfam is urging Haiti to first establish the housing camps before allowing the homeless to move from other encampments. As The Times previously reported, people are already moving to Corail Cesselesse, the first of the new provisional housing sites.

‘I don’t like it,’ one woman arriving at the camp said. ‘It’s like a wasteland.’

For ‘stories from Haiti, told by Haitians,’ check out the films by students from the Cine Institute, as seen on They are raw, moving films, told directly by the people who are living the story. This short film, ‘The Silent March,’ documents a mournful Carnival observance in the southern city of Jacmel, where the Cine Institute is located.

You can learn more about the film school here.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City