What is the World’s Plan to Deal with Haiti’s Earthquake Victims?

World estimates prior to Haiti’s devastating earthquake indicated more than 1/3 the population lived in or around the Port-au-Prince (PaP).  Because the earthquake was centered so close to the capital city, the destructive impact to Haitian people was magnified with over 300,000 losing their lives and more than 1.5 million people left homeless.

Many authorities around the world felt this disaster was an opportunity to begin to decentralize the population.  Plans had begun even before the disaster.  But, in the year that has passed has anything been done to begin this long and complicated process?

According to a Miami Herald news report, the United Nations International Office of Migration estimates the number of survivors in “tent cities” has dropped from 1.5 to 1 million.  But the real question is, have these people moved on to a better situation?

Some have gone back to the rural communities from which they originally came,  while others with means have left the country seeking a better life.  This too is problematic as it decreases capacity within the country.  Recent reports show many countries like the US and Haiti’s neighboring Dominican Republic, that loosened their immigration policies immediately after the earthquake are beginning to tighten their policies and in some case have even begun deporting Haitians.  This indicates that the numbers may begin to rise again.

In my opinion there are two main factors that continue to prolong this problem –

  1. Lack of ability to meet immediate relief demands
  2. Failure to execute on a comprehensive recovery plan.

Because of the extent of damage relief organization have been hard pressed to meet the capacity demands of the victims.  While attention is needed to deal with all the problems of the relief efforts, who is creating the comprehensive plan to begin moving people back into a normal way of life?

U.N.’s population reports are promising, but most that left the tent cities” have done so on their own, NOT as the result of a comprehensive plan to decentralize Haiti’s population and provide a better quality of life for the Haitian people.  Does such a plan even exist?  The answer is yes. Here is a high level overview.

Take a moment to read through this plan overview.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  How might you suggest approaching this problem for Haiti differently?

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