Stories Compiled by IJDH and the BAI
What happens after a camp has been evicted?
Camp Toussaint Louverture
After the earthquake, 2,500 families sought refuge on a large parcel of unoccupied land now known as Camp Carradeux. As they did not have tents to sleep in, they collected material from the rubble of the earthquake and pieced together temporary shelters out of torn bed sheets, plastic tarps, and scraps of cardboard. After their efforts to build themselves homes and a community, bulldozers razed their settlements on two occasions – once accompanied by heavily armed members of the Haitian National Police. Ultimately, the families were pushed up onto a rocky hillside at the far edge of Camp Carradeux, now called Camp Toussaint Louverture. Within days of being pushed off of their settlement, the residents of Toussaint Louverture witnessed 500 new families being settled on the land they once occupied. Camp organizers, claiming to operate under the authority of the UN’s Camp Coordination and Management Cluster, erected a physical barrier to segregate the new occupants of Camp Carradeux from the original residents who now lived on the side of the hill. Camp organizers also registered the new families as the “official” Camp Carradeux residents and distributed to them camping tents and identification cards allowing them to access food, water and medical treatment that aid organizations regularly supply on-site. The Toussaint Louverture residents on the hillside were told that they could not register as official occupants of Camp Carradeux and as a result, are denied access to any of the aid or services given to occupants of Camp Carradeux. They are forced to survive on scraps of food and non-potable water brought to them by sympathetic residents of Camp Carradeux.
Camp CR 8
Natacha, 22 years old, lived with her small son in her mother’s house before the earthquake. The earthquake damaged her mother’s house to the point that it became uninhabitable. While her mother and her son went to one camp, and Natacha went with her husband to another – Camp CR 8. After living together for several months, many of the families settled in Camp CR 8 believed they had a created a community that helped them weather the rough conditions they were living in. However, the purported landowner of Camp CR 8 began telling the families they had to leave and sent a man to the camp to threaten the families, saying they had two weeks to leave or else they would be attacked by an armed gang. The landowner also built a wall around the camp, blocking the residents’ access to the latrines in the neighboring camp. Fearing for their lives and no access to sanitation, the camp residents moved out even though they had nowhere else to go. Some went to sleep on the streets or live amongst the rubble of destroyed homes. Others tried to squeeze into neighboring camps. The CR 8 community wished they could have, at the very least, resettled in a new camp together to maintain the bonds they developed as a community. They were afraid to have to start all over again in new camps with strangers, but that is just what Natacha and her husband did. They bought a small piece of land from another IDP in a neighboring camp to build a new “home” for themselves. The land sat on the edge of a cliff overlooking a trash ravine.
Individuals from the camps described can be contacted through IJDH attorney, Jeena Shah (+509 3610 2781 or firstname.lastname@example.org).