Haiti: hundreds of families evicted from soccer stadium

Backed up by the National Police of Haiti (PNH) and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), on July 15 Port-au-Prince authorities began evicting some 400-450 families from the parking lot of the Sylvio Cator soccer stadium, where they had been living after being displaced by a January 2010 earthquake. The authorities said the eviction was necessary so that workers could get the stadium ready for an Aug. 4 match between two teams in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

The evictions, which were expected to take place over several days, were orderly, especially in comparison to the forcible removal of thousands of earthquake victims from the stadium itself in April 2010. The city government had consulted in advance with the camp’s coordinating committee, residents were allowed time to pack their belongings, and the authorities gave each family a check for 10,000 gourdes (a little less than $250) as they left. But plans for relocating the families seemed unclear. Apparently the residents were originally going to be moved to another camp, known as “Caroussel,” at the former site of the Simbi hotel, on the southern outskirts of the capital, but the occupants there objected to having a large number of new people. The authorities have mentioned two other possible sites. (AlterPresse, Haiti, July 15, July 16; Haïti Libre, Haiti, July 16)

It appears likely that as the displaced persons camps are closed down, many of the earthquake survivors will end up returning to their damaged homes. A draft report written for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) this spring indicated that about one million people in the affected area were living in their old homes despite the danger that the buildings could collapse.

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 17.

See our last post on Haiti.