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Jan-27-2010 03:02printcommentsVideo

Haiti's Displaced Number Close to a Million

So far, there are 591 improvised settlements with approximately 692,000 displaced people in the Port-au-Prince region alone.

Tent City in Petion-Ville, Haiti
Special thanks to the UN/MINUSTAH video crews on the ground in Petion-Ville, Haiti.

(PETION-VILLE/SALEM) - At a golf course in Petion-Ville, where thousands of displaced Haitians live in camps without access to toilets and basic food supplies and water, some have started small businesses to survive.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says that there are 500 tents in this area that can hold up to 20,000 people.

Niurka Pineiro is a spokesperson for IOM, "Our estimates are about 500 tent camps - larger camps. When I say "larger" I am talking about from 50 people in the smallest, to the largest having 15,000 or 20,000 in them."

In Petion-Ville, however, there are about 60,000 people living in overcrowded camps. Some of them have started small business such as hairdressing, cell phone charging and managing small markets in search for normalcy amidst this humanitarian crisis.

One person doing business is Rachelle Pierre, Victim and Beautician, "I lost everything I had, all my salon equipment. No one has any money really. But this is my profession, I have to do this. And as long as people are alive, they will always want to have their hair done."

Many, like Victim and Tent camp resident Belo Nivel, remain concerned about the prospects of living out of tents for an extended period of time. "I have no idea how long we will be here. Our house is gone, we have nowhere. All nine of us live here. Who know for how long?"

Humanitarian agencies like IOM and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are increasing concerned about managing camps and setting up temporary housing for the 800,000 to a million displaced people in Haiti.

Pineiro says this is the emergency phase.

"We have the reconstruction phase afterwards. And so this donors meeting, and this meeting in Montreal on Monday, and the donor's meeting which is not scheduled yet but will be in March - these are important windows where we must get the funding to make sure that those tent cities don't become a reality or a permanent part of the landscape in Haiti."

So far, there are 591 improvised settlements with approximately 692,000 displaced people in the Port-au-Prince region alone. IOM is expecting a shipment of about 40,000 more tents to arrive in the coming days.

They will accommodate 200,000 people.

Special thanks to the UN/MINUSTAH video crews on the ground in Petion-Ville.


Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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