Haitian Government Risks Ignoring Earthquake Survivors, ActionAid Says

For Immediate Release


Randi Hogan
ActionAid US office


Tel: 202-370-9924

Anjali Kwatra
ActionAid UK media office


Tel: 00 44 207 561 7633

Haitian Government Risks Ignoring Earthquake Survivors, ActionAid Says

WASHINGTON - Three months on from the earthquake that
devastated Haiti, the government is at risk of ignoring
survivors in its plans to re-house hundreds of thousands of people, ActionAid
said today.

More than a million people are still homeless in Haiti, including 250,000
people whose shelters in camps in Port-au-Prince are at high risk of flooding during the rainy season that begins in earnest in

The government has identified a huge piece of land to the north of the capital that it
wants to make into a temporary relocation site. However
many of those who lost their homes are living in temporary shelters miles away
from the site and do not want to or are unable to move.

Jean Claude Fignolé,
ActionAid's Haiti Country Director, said: "The
rains have already started and this is leaving thousands of earthquake
survivors in a dire situation. Three months on from the earthquake the most
urgent task is for the Haitian government to identify appropriate land for
shelters before May when the rainy season will be well underway.

"But the
government has not taken people's needs into account in its relocation
plans. Ordinary people and local authorities have not been consulted. The
government should also identify smaller sites in different locations around the
city which are appropriate for the homeless."

The massive challenge of relocation in
Haiti could be even more problematic if a planned new recovery commission is
not accountable to the Haitian people. The commission, to be led by US
President Bill Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, will be
in total control of the $5.5 billion pledged by the international community
last month to rebuild the country, but will not be accountable to parliament or
to the people.

"The funds that international
donors have pledged for Haiti must be spent in a way that benefits the Haitian
population. In order for this to happen there needs to be accountability to the
people of Haiti,"

Jean Claude Fignolé said.

Since the earthquake struck on January
12, ActionAid working with local partner organizations and volunteers has so
far reached out to over 20,000 of the most vulnerable earthquake survivors and
will be reaching 100,000 people by July.
ActionAid has provided food supplies, emergency relief items and trained
community volunteers in how to help with emotional care and is now moving to
longer term projects such as getting people back to work and rebuilding

ActionAid is an international agency
working in 50 countries alongside 25 million poor people to end poverty and the
injustices that cause it.  ActionAid has been working in Haiti since 1996 and
has focused on promoting the right to food security, women's rights,
rights to quality education for all, rights to just and democratic governance,
rights to a life of dignity in the face of HIV/AIDS, and rights to security
during emergencies.


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