by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) Dec 21, 2012
Nearly three years after a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, some 360,000 Haitians are still living in emergency camps, the International Organization for Migration said Friday.
"At least 84 percent of the population living in camps in 2012 was already there in 2010, which confirms that most probably they have been living at these sites since the January 2010 earthquake," the IOM said in a statement.
All of Haiti, the most impoverished nation in the Americas scarred by dictatorships and political upheavals, is still struggling to recover after the January 12, 2010 earthquake that killed 250,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more.
But the situation is especially difficult for around 90,000 families, or 360,000 individuals, who remain in the country's 496 camps, the IOM said.
The organisation, which has partnered with local Haitian groups to help the displaced, stressed that most of the families were living in emergency tarpaulin and makeshift wooden structures and that 58 percent remain unemployed while most were living in single-parent households.
The organisation also pointed out that around 86 percent of those living in the camps did not own a home and would need to rent to be able to leave the camps.
These families need help to find alternative housing outside the camps within the next two years, "to avoid the risk of violence, possible secondary displacement and forced eviction," the IOM said.
Since 2011, the international community has helped more than 635,000 people leave the camps through a government-led programme.
The IOM said it had provided nearly 12,000 families, or 48,000 individuals, with one-year rental subsidies to find alternative housing, and that it aimed to help another 15,000 families do the same next year.
It meanwhile appealed for $2.0 million to help finance its continued work inside the camps.
"The international community must not abandon Haiti now," IOM Haiti mission chief Gregoire Goodstein insisted, pointing out that many other organisations had been forced to leave due to lack of funds.
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