Shelters That Don’t Shelter the Needy
A new study by Haiti Grassroots Watch
By Milo Milfort, Enel Beaulière, Francy Innocent / Haiti Grassroots Watch, Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Hills above Léogâne, HAITI – Almost half of the emergency shelters distributed by the British organization Tearfund in the mountains above Léogâne remain uninhabited six months after they were built. A two-month investigation by the Haiti Grassroots
Watch (HGW) investigative journalism partnership in the hamlets of Fonds d’Oies and Cormiers, the tenth and twelfth sections of Léogâne, found that 34 of the 84 families who received temporary houses didn’t live in them, and that 11 families got two houses from two different humanitarian organizations.
If these 34 houses – built for $3,000 each, according to Tearfund – are sitting empty or, worse, are up for rent, that means at least $102,000 was wasted while tens of neighboring families are still living in tents or make-shift huts.
“The emergency shelters distributed around here weren’t passed out fairly,” Rosemie Durandisse seethed. The 50-year-old farmer, her husband and six children used to live in a four-room concrete home that was destroyed during the earthquake, whose epicenter lies about 25 kilometers away. Now she and her family cram into a shack made of wood, cloth and plastic.
“Life is not too rosy for me… I need to find a home because [when it rains], the torrents make our lives miserable,” she added.
The Christian organization Tearfund (The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund), which works in about 50 countries around the world, arrived in these mountain hamlets between Léogâne and Jacmel after the earthquake. In addition to other work, Tearfund built 249 “…