Haiti has been an impoverished country for decades but they dove into deeper economic turmoil after the 2010 earthquake. The poverty and disaster has furthered the pre-earthquake issue of land ownership and the lack of policy on the issue. According to a report by Action Aid only 70% of the land is used for farming but rarely do these farmers own the land they are growing on, most are assumed as renters or are inhabiting other’s land illegally. The result has been in the spontaneous development of tent communities that are now prominent for several displaced communities whose homes were destroyed as a result of the earthquake. Meanwhile those who try to purchase homes often end up with conflicting ownerships, due to lack of government communication.
While article 36 of the Haitian Constitution secures all Haitian’s right to a home the uneven distribution of land in Haiti has caused major chaos and an overflow of homeless. Despite their President Michel Martelly’s goal of re-branding Haiti’s image, the country is still seen as one of the poorest and most dangerous countries in the western hemisphere. This image was not only aggravated by the earthquake but also by the cholera outbreak which has left nearly 5,000 Haitians dead. The existence of the tent communities is just one symptom of larger systemic issues within the current Haitian government.
Read the full report by Action Aid on Land and Housing Rights here