The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Haiti:
In Temporary Shelter Refugees Manage Themselves

Mar 21, 2011

The U.N. announced that more than 810,000 Haitians still live in refugee camps. Some 125,000 temporary shelters were planned, but only 19,000 have been built!

The Haitian government has shown itself incapable of pressuring public, private and U.N. sources for the heavy equipment needed to clear and demolish ruins, because those are the institutions it serves! For the same reason, the government has been unable to take over private land and avoids expropriating it. The refugees living in tents looked for another place to live as soon as they could. They returned to their neighborhoods and cleared, collected and stacked up concrete blocks to provide more solid shelter.

On February 10th, a river south of the capital Port-au-Prince overflowed its banks with the first big rain of the year. Three days of rain led to more floods. The national road was washed out; several parts of the capital were flooded, as were at least three refugee camps.

Due to the absence of dredging, each time there’s a downpour the area floods. Whenever those living near the river demand public works, the government says it doesn’t have the resources to aid them.

Some people say they must take care of matters themselves, without waiting for institutional aid. They are right. The situation is urgent, since the hurricane season begins in June, which also brings the threat of cholera.