The estimated 1.5 million Haitians displaced by the earthquake descended upon any patch of green they could find to set up tarp-covered structures and tents. They surely thought the flimsy structures would be temporary. Yet, 347,284 Haitians still live in 450 camps today.
Those who moved out did so with the help of government, UN, and international NGO subsidies to pay rent for a year, or they moved in with family members. Still tens of thousands of others traded their shacks for equally precarious shelter in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince.
“One of the biggest questions is what happened to these 1.2 million people that moved out of camps. Where did they go?” asks Jake Johnston, international research associate for the liberal, Washington-based Center for Economic Policy Research.
To house the former camp dwellers, aid agencies have built 5,911 permanent houses and repaired another 18,725 homes that were damaged in the earthquake. The larger focus has been on constructing 110,964 temporary shelters, simple plywood structures meant to last no longer than a few years.