Families begin making the move from camp to community

Published: 2 July 2012 16:19 CET

Most people living in the various camps for internally displace people (IDP) in Port-au-Prince have the same wish: to someday say goodbye to the four plastic walls that they have called home for the last 30 months.

For Roblin Emilio that day has finally come. Roblin who has lived in Camp Dadadou since the 12 January, 2010 earthquake is finally leaving the camp to go back to Les Anglais, which is located in the south of Haiti close to where he grew up.

“I lost my home in the earthquake and most of my belongings. Whatever was left that the earthquake didn’t destroy, thieves came and took,” he said. “I wanted to stay near my house, to guard what we had left but I had no where to sleep. So, we came here.”

Before becoming an IDP camp, Dadadou, which is located in Delmas 2 , was a sports center  where people from the Delmas would come and play basketball and soccer. Today, every inch of this once popular place is covered with tents and makeshift houses. As part of their camp decongestion program the Haitian Red Cross, in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is working to provide housing solutions to those living in the camp.

The program aims to relocate all 150 families that have been living on this site.

Roblin  said: “The Red Cross agents came and they handed out flyers that told us about the different options we could chose from. I chose to go back to the provinces because there is nothing left for me here.”

This single father of four lost his wife three months after the earthquake. She died in the camp from the injuries she suffered when their home collapsed during the earthquake. A month after her death, Roblin suffered a stroke which partially immobilized his right side. Unable to work, it has been a struggle for him to provide for his family let alone find the means to move them from the camp.

“I can’t work. I can’t do anything,” he said. “That is why I am going back to my hometown because there, at least, I have family. I should have never come to live in Port-au-Prince. Port-au-Prince took my wife and paralyzed me.”

Camp Dadadou is one of the camps in Port-au-Prince that did not benefit from any sort of support after the earthquake devastated many parts of the city leaving thousands of people homeless and injured. More than two years after the tragedy many people still find themselves in camps with no hope of being able to rent a home. Activities such as the Red Cross decongestion program have given people the means in which to leave camps and start picking up the pieces of their former lives.

“This is the first time that an organization has come here to do anything for us. For months after the earthquake organizations would come  and look around and say that they would be back but they never came back,” Roblin said. “I think that the Red Cross is doing great work. They actually came back when they said they would.”