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Reconstruction Causes Problems in Haiti

Plans are currently in the works to rebuild Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, in the aftermath of the January 12, 2010 earthquake that reached a 7.0 on the Richter scale managed to destroy much of the city.

According to the Huffington Post, Harry Adam, the executive director of the company that handles public building and housing construction, claims the reconstruction will not be completed for another 10 years. The first half of the reconstruction will cost about $150 million, and officials have yet to release an estimate for the cost of the entire project.

While reconstruction may sound like a positive endeavor, the experience has not been so positive for many of the residents of Port-au-Prince. In fact, many of the city’s inhabitants were given only a day’s notice that their houses would be torn down before they were forced to evacuate from the area.

Consequently, many encampment zones have been popping up around the city. After these people were chased from their homes, they had nowhere to go and were forced to stay in friends’ apartments or live on the streets in tents and under tarps. Many were unable to gather their belongings before leaving, and when the bulldozers destroyed their homes, many were immediately plunged into poverty.

Not all government officials, however, are in favor of the capital’s reconstruction at the expense of its people. Senator Moise Jean-Charles told the Huffington Post that the construction company “only give[s] them a few minutes notice and then they start bulldozing? I consider that a crime. These families have nowhere to go and are now homeless again.”

Although some renters are being promised compensation, in order to receive the compensation they need to provide proof by way of receipts that they were paying all their housing expenses, which proves difficult for people who were forced to quickly evacuate.

– Jordyn Horowitz

Sources: The Huffington Post, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
Photo: Council on Hemispheric Affairs