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Haiti: families return home

Families affected by the Haiti earthquake are returning home to their neighbourhoods, thanks to an initiative by Concern Worldwide.

Life in camps

When Haiti’s most devastating earthquake struck in 2010, 1.5 million people lost their homes.  Since then, many people have been living in temporary camps. Life in the camps is hard, with armed gangs operating and only limited access to water, sanitation and other basic necessities. People can’t return to the neighbourhoods where they once lived, because they don’t have the money for rent.

Our response

We’re helping people move out of the camps and back to their own neighbourhoods so that they can rebuild their lives. We’re concentrating on St Martin, one of the poorest areas of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. With the help of the EU’s humanitarian aid office, ECHO, our aim is to relocate 2,700 families from the camps back into their own communities.

Progress so far

In the first phase of our “Return to neighbourhoods” programme, 2,687 families were relocated from two large camps, which were then refurbished and returned to their original uses.

Next phase

This time around, we’re focusing on a camp on the grounds of a manufacturing company, which we’ve helped save from eviction in recent months. We’re giving families a “rental support cash grant” which is designed to help them with their rent for a year.

Family support

We support the returning families by finding them accommodation that is well built and resistant to earthquakes and flooding. They also receive a grant to help them start their own business or get vocational training and an education grant to help them send their children to school.

Work remaining

There’s still work to be done. Three years on from the earthquake, there are an estimated 278,945 families living in emergency shelters in about 352 sites around the city. The closure of these camps is vital to Haiti’s recovery and needs to continue, although funding is on the decrease. Last year, Haiti received just 46% of the funds needed for its recovery. We’re hoping for this to improve, so the people of Haiti can rebuild their lives once more.