Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

People facing deportation from DR flee to settlement camps

In anticipation of formal deportations from the Dominican Republic after being stripped of citizenship, many have fled to settlement camps along the Haiti-DR border. Leaving behind families, livelihoods, and homes for the tents of the camps, most are forced to rely on small amounts of savings as they wait for the government to step in and help.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full article.

Fleeing to Haiti, They Put Their Faith in ‘God and Government’

Peter Granitz, NPR

27 July 2015

Marie Etyse left two of her children behind.

She’s 29, a widow and has five kids. She has lived in a town in the Dominican Republic for the past nine years.

Like many Haitian migrants, she faces deportation after a law stripped her of her citizenship. Formal deportation could start as early as Aug. 1, so many of these people have already fled to settlement camps in Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the DR.

Etyse tried to get the required papers to stay in the country.

“All the people in the process kept asking for money,” she says. “They ask for money for the papers, and then the papers are no good.”

So three months ago, she went to live in a camp at Tete de l’Eau.

And she said goodbye to her two young kids — temporarily, she hopes. They’re staying with the family of her deceased husband.

“I couldn’t travel back with all of them,” she says.
At Tete de l’Eau, she stands on the bank of a bone-dry riverbed. It hasn’t rained in 10 months. That rocky river bottom is the international border. And people walk back and forth. It’s one of the countless unofficial crossings along the 230-mile line that separates Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Etyse had lived just five miles past the riverbed, in a town called Black Water.
Everybody in Tete de l’Eau — currently about 400 people — has been here for at least three to six months. Most of them farmed in the Dominican Republic. But with no water or available land in the Southeast Department of Haiti, where the camp is located, that’s not an option.

Charlesina Lyone thumbs the bowl of her pipe as she explains how she and her husband are living on their paltry savings. She says they’re waiting on two things: God and the government.

“If we have one pot of rice, we’ll separate it in two,” she says. “We’ll make it last twice as long.”

There are at least four settlements in the southeast. A handful of NGOs register people, and the parish hands out food and blankets when it can.

Click HERE for the full article and audio.

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