Squatters Seek Compassion in Haiti

Some Haitian property owners are tired of squatters living on their land and are calling for evictions in the near future a New York Times article reported on Oct. 4.

The squatters, displaced from the earthquake that devastated Haiti almost nine months ago, have resettled in tented encampments on land such as the 28-acre property owned by The Church of God.

The article reports that 28,065 individuals have already been evicted, while 144,175 are currently facing eviction threats.

The Church of God has already extended its Sept. 30th eviction date due to pressure from humanitarian officials. How can the Church and other land owners be so heartless, some might ask?

Well reports show that landowners are asking for assistance from the government, and many of them are just trying to get land back so they can use it for its intended purpose.

Interviewed in September, Mr. St. Fort said his land was originally used for hosting paid events. Although the Haitian government had paid him $25,000 to let the people stay until December, he argues that he could have made more than $150,000 over the same period if the land were available to be rented.

Squatters on the other hand are left to wander. Many of their homes are left in ruble, stamped unsafe by the government.

“Can’t they provide tools or some kind of assistance?” one stranded Haitian asked in the New York Times article. “What are we supposed to do? Move into the debris with our raggedy tents?”

Humanitarian officials have encouraged the government to consider a moratorium on evictions. They worry that the evictions could increase conflict and lead to individuals moving to smaller, less safe encampments.

Who do we look to for compassion first, the individuals who are currently housing the squatters on their land, or the government?

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