Displaced Peoples' Camps & the Urgency of Housing

What dreams are made of: Haiti Kanpé

October 3, 2012

Cross-posted from the Trinidad & Tobago Review Column, posted on Miriam Chancy's website.

Trinidad & Tobago Review Column, Sept. 2012

Prince Luc, artist, Director, FOSAJ, w/Papier Maché Carnival Puppets, Jacmel 2012©MJA Chancy

Who has never dreamed? Of a desired object, person, or state of being? Who has never dreamed? Who has never dared to dream?

A week ago today, I sat in Cyvadier, on the outskirts of Jacmel in southern Haiti, and listened to Guerda Constant tell me the story of her ad-hoc work with rural youth, work she does in addition to her full time occupation working with NGOs.  I listened to her telling me of how she speaks with young Haitians, especially in rural areas, hoping to raise in them an awareness of their own gifts, of the beauty of their country, despite all evidence to the contrary.  Guerda told me the story of one little girl gifted with a beautiful singing voice.  She asked the girl what was her dream and the girl responded that she had none.  Guerda pressed her, asking her what she thought of when she let loose with her friends, what she wondered about.  The girl responded that she did not wonder about anything.  And when you are alone? Guerda asked, what do you think about.  And the girl answered that she did not think about anything in particular but that, occasionally, when a day, or two had gone by and she had not eaten, she would make her way to the side of a river running close to her house, find a spot, and sing there, alone, until she felt better, until the pangs of hunger left her and the song lifted her beyond the pain and despair.  This gift, this song, Guerda asked, thinking of the long history of Haitian troubadours, don’t you dream of doing something with it, of singing for others?  No, the girl answered. Here, I can’t afford to dream.  Guerda is one of many Haitians working to restore the capacity to dream and to hope to the youth of Haiti.  But we may well wonder what it means when a generation of children cannot dare to dream, refuses to dream, because they have already seen too much, or too little, to warrant what must strike them as reckless optimism.

Some Haitians Are Still Waiting for Permanent Housing

October 3, 2012

Cross-posted from PRI's The World.

By Amy Bracken October 1, 2012

Haitian activist tours U.S. demanding housing rights for the country’s 400,000 displaced

September 11, 2012

Housing activist Reyneld Sanon is beginning a tour to key cities in the United States. The tour will raise awareness about Under Tents, the international campaign for housing rights in Haiti. The campaign is a joint initiative of Haitian grassroots groups and more than 30 international organizations that are demanding a solution for Haiti’s homeless.

Other Worlds Event in New Orleans! Fighting for Public Housing in Haiti and New Orleans

September 5, 2012

Like so many New Orleanians since Katrina, Haitians are fighting to have housing recognized as a basic right.  Since the massive 2010 earthquake devastated their country, there has been NO large-scale housing plan to shelter the nearly half a million people who remain displaced and homeless.  Displaced people, Haitian grassroots organizations, and international allies have launched a campaign called Under Tents, demanding public or affordable housing. International solidarity will be vital to their success!

THE CREOLE CONNECTION: NEW ORLEANS, HAITI, AND CATASTROPHE

August 29, 2012

By Beverly Bell

August 29, 2012


As a native and resident of New Orleans who has spent three decades in and out of Haiti, and as director of an organization with offices in both places, this has been a harrowing week. The two locales sit squarely in Hurricane Isaac’s path. We don’t know yet how New Orleans will weather the giant storm. The official death toll in Haiti was 24, but many more will surely die from secondary effects of cholera or, for those who have lost their slim margins of sustenance, hunger.

THE THINGS THAT ARE THE RICHEST ARE THE LEAST VALUED: NEW ORLEANS AND HAITI, POST-CATASTROPHE

August 28, 2012

Lolis Eric Elie
Interviewed by Beverly Bell

August 28, 2012

Tomorrow, seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina dodged New Orleans, the city will be venturing out to assess Hurricane Isaac’s overnight imprint on its neighborhoods. Yet parts of the city – especially low-income, African-American parts – are still damaged from the flood that followed the 2005 storm, when more than 50 levees broke and filled New Orleans with killing waters.

Below, writer Lolis Eric Elie speaks to the connections between his native New Orleans and Haiti, which did not escape Hurricane Isaac. Officially, 24 people died when the hurricane passed through on Saturday, though the numbers of those who will die from secondary effects such as hunger and cholera will never be counted. Elie’s discussion, however, focuses on an earlier disaster in Haiti, the epic 7.0 earthquake of January 12, 2010. 

Tropical Storm Isaac’s Destruction Another “Unnatural Disaster” in Haiti

August 27, 2012

Press release from Accuracy.org

AP reports at least eight deaths from tropical storm Issac in Haiti. Over 30 groups working on Haiti have set up the Under Tents campaign in working to ensure housing.

The groups state that many of Haiti’s problems are not “natural disasters,” but are the result of policies that become increasingly glaring as Haiti faces more storms this season. Among the groups in the campaign:

"Homelessness, Displacement, Evictions . . . This Sounds Familiar": New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center

July 23, 2012

Cross-posted from the New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center.
Posted on 05. Jul, 2012 by

By Hannah Adams, Guest Contributor

There are a number of obvious parallels between housing needs in New Orleans after the 2005 hurricanes and housing needs in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

In both disasters, large regions lost the majority of their affordable housing stock, resulting in massive spikes in homelessness and displacement.  UNITY of Greater New Orleans reports that homelessness rates effectively doubled in the city from January 2005 to January 2009. [1] The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center adds that New Orleans experienced a population loss of over 140,000 according to the 2010 census, and that poor New Orleanians and families with children under eighteen were among those less likely to return. [2] Meanwhile, the Under Tents Campaign reports that 400,000 Haitians remain homeless in displacement camps where they face gender-based violence, disease, unsanitary living conditions, and flooding.

“Under Tents”: International Campaign Launch for Housing in Haiti

July 2, 2012

"The quantity of people who are homeless in Port-au-Prince today is not acceptable. We need the support of other governments, like the US, to demand that the Haitian Government create a social housing plan. We are looking for allies to help our advocacy. We are asking simply for quality homes where people can live." - Jackson Doliscar of the grassroots group Force for Reflection and Action on Housing (FRAKKA).

“Waiting for Helicopters”? Cholera, Prejudice, and the Right to Water in Haiti (Part II)

June 29, 2012


by Deepa Panchang
June 29, 2012

“Where you stand,” goes an old Haitian proverb, “depends on where you sit.” This article, the second in a series, will examine aid workers’ stereotypes and prejudices about residents of displacement camps in post-earthquake Haiti, stemming from acute disconnect between NGOs and the people they are there to work with. We explore how these misperceptions have perpetuated deliberate decisions to deny water and sanitation services to desperate survivors.

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