Disaster Relief Network Plans to Follow up Survey in Haiti
Images of Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010 reminded the world of the wreckage Hurricane Katrina left when it struck the Gulf Coast in 2005. The same commitment that brought the Disaster Relief Network to New Orleans continues to bring us to Haiti and Since 2010, Fordham students have returned each year.
Last March, Fordham students partnered with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) to follow-up on a survey, conducted by the University of San Francisco School of Law in 2011. With the assistance of students from the Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP), we interviewed Haitians who lost their homes in the earthquake and had lived or were currently living in camps for internally displaced persons (IDP).
In 2011, President Michel Martelly announced his plans to close IDP camps and relocate camp residents within the first 100 days of his presidency. Although many individuals remained in camps, most people we spoke with were then part of a government relocation program that provides housing stipends for one year. During our time in Haiti, we were able to gather up-to-date information regarding displaced Haitians’ quality of life and experiences with relocation. This data has been used as a policy tool, and is the only known survey of Haitians actually experiencing relocation.
This Spring Break, the Disaster Relief Network will return to Port Au Prince with a team of eight law students and Hillary Exter of the Public Interest Resource Center, to speak with the same individuals we interviewed one year ago. We hope to show what the housing situation looks like as the one-year relocation program begins to expire. During our survey last year, we learned that many Haitians were glad to be out of the dangerous camps, but concerned about what would happen when their housing subsidy ran out. The survey we conduct this year will follow up on that precise concern.
Through DRN’s work we hope to continue giving a voice to Haitians experiencing continued effects from the Earthquake. We are also excited to provide this unique learning experience to law students who are able to gain hands-on skills in the field. For more information, contact the Disaster Relief Network at firstname.lastname@example.org