More than half of the Haitians driven into tent cities and makeshift camps by the January 2010 earthquake have moved out of them, officially bringing down the displaced population to 680,000 from a peak of 1.5 million, according to the International Organization for Migration.
But what may seem like a clear sign of progress, officials warn, is also a cause of concern.
Very few of the people who left the camps — only 4.7 percent, by the group’s estimate — did so because their homes had been rebuilt or repaired. Instead, a vast majority appear to have been forced out through mass evictions by landowners, or to have left the camps on their own to escape the high crime and fraying conditions there.
Now, most of the former camp dwellers are doubled up in their friends’ or families’ homes, scattered at random in tents and improvised dwellings, or living in “precarious housing” that is dilapidated, damaged or partly collapsed, the organization says. In some cases, the cinder blocks that were toppled by the quake are being cobbled together to make walls again, only more unevenly and wobbly than before.
As for the camps (arguably a step better than the evolving status quo):
Where toilets are provided, each one is shared by an average of 273 people.