The struggle to rebuild unstable Haiti

From Global development | The Guardian Thu Jan 10 2013, 06:43:52

Political instability, natural disasters and a cholera epidemic, plus a confused aid effort, mean there is still work for Haiti to do

Father Kawas François, a Haitian Jesuit priest, sighs deeply when asked about the 300,000 people still living in tents three years after an earthquake ripped through his country.

The disaster killed between 230,000 and 300,000 people in what was already the western hemisphere's poorest state, and made 1.5 million people homeless. For Father Kawas, who co-ordinated emergency response efforts in 2010 (video), several reasons lie behind the continued existence of tent cities where people swelter during the day and are soaked by evening rains.

But the main one is the government's inability to acquire land from powerful families around the capital. "I think it's difficult to rehouse these people because most of the land surrounding Port-au-Prince belongs to very powerful families and those families don't want to give the land to the state to rehouse people. It's a very big problem because those families are very powerful and they have many political resources so they can influence the decisions of the state."

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