Not enough housing solutions to end Haiti’s displacement crisis, IOM warns

Under current plans, there will not be enough housing solutions by the end of the year to resolve Haiti’s displacement crisis, says IOM. 

The problem is particularly acute in the metropolitan area, with limited space and uncertainty over land ownership.

IOM Haiti’s Chief of Mission Luca Dall’Oglio, warned that “hundreds of thousands of Haitians are likely to still be living in displacement camps by the end of 2011.” He said numbers of displaced people living in camps had fallen from an estimated high of 1.5 million in July 2010 to 810,000 in January 2011. However, after a year of storms, cholera and political unrest, those remaining in camps are the most vulnerable of Haiti’s earthquake victims, with no alternative but to stay where they are.

Dall’Oglio added that “furthermore, many of those who have already left camps may not have found a lasting housing solution, living instead with friends and family, or in tents in their neighbourhoods.”

The warning comes as many partner agencies of IOM working on camp management are phasing out their operations. Facing increasing cost constraints and funding shortfalls, their departure is leading to a growing gap in capacity to provide services for those remaining in camps.

Giovanni Cassani, IOM Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster coordinator said that “as Haiti will continue to face a significant homelessness crisis for some time to come, IOM and partners are focusing efforts on returning people from camps to communities and maintaining the necessary systems to look after those left behind.”

Complicating the situation is a rising tide of camp evictions by private landowners. More than half of the displaced are living in camps established on private land with at least 99 of Haiti’s 1152 camps currently under threat of eviction.

Primary responsibility for managing the evictions process lies with the Haitian government, but international agencies are being asked to help mediate and manage the disputes.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

duration: 2’14″

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