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An Account of 11,000 displaced people…

April 5, 2010

From a grassroots organization working with this Delmas IDP community:

Wanted to let you know about the removal of the 11,000 people living on the grounds of the San Louis Gonzague school on Delmas 33.  We sat in on a community meeting this morning (only introduced ourselves, didn’t comment, and only represented IAT)  to listen to their ideas of what is happening to their community, and what they can do to address the issues by tomorrow.

First off I think it’s important to mention that this is the most elite school in Port-au-Prince whose alumni include Baby Doc himself, Andre Apaid, and Guy Philippe.  Currently there is a camp of 11,000 people situated on the school’s land in Delmas 33.  The school leadership has a plan to force all of these people off the school land, over the coming next 24 hours.  (It seems symbolic that they have chosen Easter Sunday). In late February the Priest who represents the land owners stopped supplying the camp with food, sanitation, or structural support, and would only provide drinking water for the 11,000 living there. To repeat that, for over a month, around 11,000 people have survived with no food distributions, or sanitation. The people have been offered a plot of land that will hold 500 (5% of their number) in a different location.  No regard has been given to the fact that the majority of the 11,000 will end up in the street.

Neither has there been recognition of the voluntary school created by the community or its benefactors.  In the community meeting it was discussed that they create a camp wide, spontaneous school to supply all the children represented within the 11,000 people. This school would be in a centralized location within their existing home to receive free education.  The idea is that the government wants to move the camp to reopen schools, the camp is hoping that by showing the sheer numbers of children attending the free school within the camp, the government will change their mind, finding it counter productive to the goal of educating the masses, and future generations.  Why shut down one school serving many for free, to reopen one that is private, and only services the most elite.

The other topic discussed was that if they were to be moved to another location.  Then it should be provided by the Haitian state, and should be large enough to support a community of 11,000.

We haven’t spoken for anyone, or represented anyone beyond ourselves. Please forward this information to anyone who will hear.  At the community meeting, sections of the Haitian Constitution was read, showing this situation is a violation of it, and the International Declaration of Human Rights.

Thanks

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2010 9:24 am

    I just posted this to my blog. My prayers are always with the people of Hayti.

  2. Andaiye Sales permalink
    April 6, 2010 6:18 pm

    Hi Regine,

    I am so happy to have found your blog. I do have a few questions with regard to the situation there, perhaps you can answer them.

    I looked at Shigeru Ban’s website. It says that his architectural firm will be working with some students from the Dominican Republic to build temporary housing in Haiti, 100 paper homes to be exact. Unfortunately, based on what I’ve read 100 homes would only be the tip of the iceberg. Would you by any chance have any idea how much these paper homes cost to build? Perhaps I’m being idealistic, but I was thinking that perhaps Mr. Ban’s firm could work with one of the numerous organizations that have recieved millions of dollars to aid Haiti? Surely some of that money can go towards financing these temporary homes. I also wondered about the construction of showers that recycle rain water and composting latrines. How are people managing with regard to these issues? What are they doing for showers?latrines? I actually heard about the idea of composting latrines recently,once when strangely enough I was on the Central Park zoo website and read that they remodeled their restrooms and changed them so that they supported compost that remineralizes the soil. I also heard about composting latrines in a program about two young women that have created a small business creating composting latrines and placing them in various communities in Haiti. I will try to research the names of the two women that had the business in Haiti. I also wondered about water purification systems, specifically ones that are able to change ocean water into drinking water. How are people able to access fresh water? Is drinking water still being flown in, in small packages? I’m asking this because I was thinking that perhaps water could be run from the ocean, through a water purification system,through a temporary pipeline to a few centralized areas. With regard to food, what exactly is being distributed? canned food? packaged energy bars? rice? I wanted to suggest that people be provided with all natural powdered superfoods. If you aren’t familiar with these, they are commonly sold at most healthy food stores. They basically consist of vitamins,herbs and minerals that are derived from plant based foods such as spurlina,alfalfa,barley,parsley,beet root juice powder,carrot root powder etc..A tablespoon of this can be combined with water or juice and it is extremely nutrient and mineral rich. I take powdered superfoods regularly and can attest to how well nourished and energized I feel. I mention the superfoods because although they can be pricey,in a situation like this I think it would be extremely beneficial to the immediate overall health of the Hatian people. Traumatic situations and stress immediately drain important nutrients from ones body. These foods are an important way to replenish those nutrients. Most importantly, no cooking is required, which would work well in this situation. Again the issue of cost comes up. I do have an old college friend that works for the Red Cross, so I think I will try to contact him and get his feedback on these issues as well…okay, my last question is in regard to electricity,what is the situation there? Do people have lanterns and flashlights that they can use in their tents at night? Oh, one last thing, are people able to cook at all? If so, what are they using? hot plates? charcol ovens? Again I ask because I heard about a program that provides solar ovens to countries to counteract deforrestation. I will look into this and get back to you. I didn’t mean to be so wordy, but I would like to help and many ideas have been running through my mind. I realize that some (or all) of my ideas may be simply premature and too idealisic right now, but I was simply trying to focus on food, fresh water and shelter in an eco friendly sustaining way. Please whenever you are able, get back to me and let me know what you think, and by the way if no one has told you- you are doing anazing work!!!

    Be Safe.

    All the best,

    Andaiye

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