A press release this morning from the Haiti Response Coaltion [HRC] calls attention to a series of protests planned for today in Port-au-Prince. The statement reads:
On Monday September 13th at 11am EST (10am in Haiti) residents of more than a dozen camps for internally displaced people will demonstrate in front of the National Palace to demand the right to education. They are also calling for decent housing because they are living in fear during this hurricane season.
On September 1, UN Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-Moon reported to the UN on efforts in Haiti, noting that over the next nine months 137,000 transitional shelters are planned to be built. Thus far, however, only 11,425 have been constructed, providing shelter to just over 3% of those displaced. At the same time, the Associated Press reported last week that of the estimated 33 million cubic meters of rubble caused by the earthquake, only 2 percent has been removed. Yet despite the situation on the ground, many countries, including the United States and other rich nations, have yet to live up to their aid pledges. Meanwhile, NGOs sit atop millions of dollars being held for longer-term projects.
As children all over the world returned to school this month, the majority of Haitian earthquake survivors are still living under tarps, tents and sheets without access to basic services and have no schools or educational programs for their children to attend. Since food distributions were halted months ago, in many camps the children are beginning to have orange hair, a sign of malnutrition.
Meanwhile, with the media focus switching from the humanitarian crisis to the upcoming elections, the plight of the million plus Haitians living in tattered tarps and tents, risks being swept aside. As the HRC press release concludes:
As the Haitian government and international community have turned their focus onto elections planned for the end of November, victims living in tent cities are afraid that their situation is being marginalized by an electoral campaign unlikely to challenge the status quo while their biggest needs are being ignored. On Friday, protestors chanted “No Elections Without Housing!” and proclaimed they would not go to elections under tents and tarps.