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AMERICA/HAITI - Nuncio to Haiti tells Fides: “The humanitarian situation is still in an emergency phase. Over 1 million refugees are living in tents and the number is on the rise.”
Port-au-Prince (Agenzia Fides) – "The humanitarian situation is still in an emergency phase. Over 1 million refugees are living in tents and, instead of diminishing, the number is on the rise. Even the poor who come from other provinces in search of help and work make the camps swell.” These are the words of the Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, Archbishop Bernard Auza, in telling Fides about the situation in the country more than nine months after the earthquake on January 12, 2010. “Many new makeshift camps are appearing on the hills of northern Port-au-Prince,” says the Nuncio. “It is probably for fear of the flooding which, thank God, has not yet arrived. In fact, no hurricane has hit the country and there have been no torrential rains, so there has been no flooding.”
Archbishop Auza says that "a solution to solve the problem of the IDPs has seemed impossible thus far. The first camp set up by the transitional government and the international community in the area of Corail, north/northeast of the capital, seems to have failed due to lack of services and other things. It is said that half of the approximately 10,000 people in that camp have already returned to the city. In my opinion, the best solution is that of Catholic Relief Services (CSR), which implies taking families back to their communities of origin, to their neighborhoods, to where their houses were. CRS builds temporary homes for them where they had their own homes. Building permanent homes is not even on the agenda, as it would be too costly and would not be within the duty of the government and the international community, at least in this period when there are other important needs. However, there are some NGOs who are trying to build permanent homes."
With regard to presidential, parliamentary, and local elections to be held November 28, 2010 (first round), the Archbishop says that they have been the focus of the people's attention: "The political problems (such as the opposition boycott) and the logistics (for example voter registration and issuing of identity cards) are vast, but Haiti and the international community believe that nevertheless elections should be held in order to consolidate political stability. There are 19 candidates vying for the seat of President of the Republic."
Finally, the Nuncio focuses on the reconstruction phase. "The reconstruction itself has not yet begun. The state has already settled on downtown Port-au-Prince, almost completely destroyed by the earthquake, and the future new government center, which is where the new government buildings, ministries, etc. will be built. However, the projects have not yet been defined. Within the defined area is also the site of the Cathedral, which was destroyed. The Church, for its part, has many projects, but construction has not yet begun. We hope that by the first anniversary of the earthquake we can launch the first projects, such as the reconstruction of the national seminary. For now, the seminarians are housed in large semi-permanent tents that could be there for years. We hope that within three years we will be able to inaugurate a new Major Seminary.” (CE) (Agenzia Fides 21/09/2010)