Friday, March 19, 2010

Housing Situation in Port-au-Prince

I wanted to give a small update, it really has nothing to do with adoptions, but it is affecting children. 

*** The tent situation has gotten a little better, but there are still many more tents needed. I do not know if the international aid groups do not have good guides to help show them around, but there are many more fields and areas in the outskirts of PAP where families continue living in bed sheet tents. It has been raining a lot. When I say "raining", I mean RAINING for hours and strong rain! 

*** Some people's homes were not destroyed and now international aid workers are seeking housing. As a result, renters are being evicted because they cannot pay as much as the international aid workers. Some families are getting as little as a one-week notice to move out. 

*** Sexual harassment is getting worse for women and girls in their teens. The problem with living in tent cities or bed sheet tent cities is that there is really very little privacy and security. It is not like one can lock a door or gate. From my observations and with talking with women/girls I know, it is a real security threat. It is bad enough that so many women and girls have to depend on a man to help them get food, shelter, basic necessities, in addition to all too constant verbal sexual comments,  but women and girls have to worry about getting sexually assaulted.  

*** On a side note, I have female friends who work for the U.N. and they constantly tell me about verbal sexual harassment and sexual touching that they have to endure from the male U.N. soldiers and employees. They are afraid to complain and endure this kind of treatment because they are afraid that they will lose their jobs if they do. 

*** The security situation has gotten worse since many of the U.S. Army troops have left the country. I think that was a bad decision to have them leave. Right on the street that I live on, a man was shot to death during a robbery by four men with guns. The man's son watched the attack and his father being shot. The father had driven his car to the local bakery and they were going to buy bread. Another incident happened in the city where two Haitian police men were shot and killed by criminals. These are just two incidences, there are others. It is no longer safe to go to the bank, to go shopping and to go into the city to run errands! Sad but true!