Haiti camp evictions begin ahead of rainy season
By Dialogo April 13, 2010Police moved to evict thousands of homeless quake victims Saturday from squalid encampments in Haiti's capital, even from the pitch of the country's national stadium. Beginning late Friday, contingents of the Haitian National Police began breaking down tents and other shelters in the Sylvio Cator stadium, almost three months after the January 12 quake killed more than 220,000 people and left 1.3 million homeless. Evacuations of tent cities across Port-au-Prince were meanwhile being ramped up Saturday, including the first few hundred from the overcrowded camp at the Petionville golf club, which is prone to mudslides and flooding, to a new location 20 kilometers (12 miles) away. About 7,335 people, including some 1,300 families, have sought shelter on national stadium's artificial turf since it was opened up to victims after the disaster, according to authorities -- but their welcome has come to an end. Authorities have been racing to get shelter for Haitians still without homes ahead of the start of the rainy season. Hundreds of Haitians have died in past years in their flood-prone country, swept away by landslides or drowned in flooding. Flooding in Haiti is exacerbated by widespread deforestation as people cut down trees and bushes to build cooking fires.