UN - 1.3 MILLION HAITIANS STILL LIVE IN CAMPS MONTHS AFTER QUAKE
(Kansas City.com) - By JT Nguyen
Nearly nine months after a devastating earthquake, an estimated 1.3 million Haitians are still living in temporary shelters while the country struggles with reconstruction and rebuilding a government, the United Nations said Thursday in an updated report.
The 1.3 million people displaced by the magnitude-7 earthquake on January 12 now live in 1,300 settlement sites.
"The situation in the camps remains complex, given a shifting population and fluctuating use of camps," the report said. It said most of the 600,000 residents who left the capital Port-au-Prince after the quake have returned.
The quake killed more than 200,000 people and destroyed or damaged more than 230,000 buildings and houses. The international community in March pledged over 11 billion dollars for the long-term recovery and reconstruction of Haiti.
The U.N. stabilization mission in Haiti, with more than 10,000 military and police personnel, has been engaged in assisting the government in the massive humanitarian and reconstruction tasks.
The report said the most challenging task for Port-au-Prince, in addition to reconstruction, is to organize presidential and legislative elections later this year.
It called for a credible and legitimate poll "in order to bring in a president and government with a clear and uncontested mandate to lead the reconstruction process."
It said Haiti has successfully avoided a second-wave disaster of epidemics and social unrest. But it warned that the country is facing a fragile political, social and economic situation with the hundreds of thousands of quake victims still living in camps in the coming year.