Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Haitian tent camps could remain for another year

In a a press conference about the Haiti tent camps, the United Nations said that many of the tent camps will remain for at least another year. Nigel Fisher, who works as the United Nations representative for the secretary-general; says that 120,000 temporary shelters will be ready to replace the tents by August 2011.

From the IPS, writer Beatrice Paez attended a press conference at the UN that touched on the next rebuilding Port-au-Prince.

Six months after Haiti's devastating earthquake, U.N. aid agencies say they are entering the challenging phase of replacing the tents that are home to the estimated 1.5 million people who remain displaced.

Nigel Fisher, the deputy representative of the secretary- general in Haiti, told the press at a briefing Monday that by August 2011, about 120,000 temporary, transitional shelters will be ready. Experts have also been testing new ways to repair homes that have not been structurally destroyed.

"They will be in tented camps for months and maybe years to come," Fisher told reporters. "This is the biggest urban disaster that the world has seen in living memory."

Critics charge the progress has been slow, but Fisher disputed this, citing issues of land claims and tenure that need to be ironed out before settlements can be inhabited across the affected areas.

He added that after the 1995 Kobe earthquake in Japan, which claimed 6,000 lives, it took a nation with abundant resources seven years to make a full recovery.

The bigger picture is less bleak, he said. Safe water has been delivered to 1.2 million people, millions are being fed daily and the temporary schools are on their way to restoring some sense of a normal routine to the lives of children.

Outside the capital, farming families have also been provided with seeds, roots and tubers and tools for agriculture. "Crops are starting to grow again," said Fisher.

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