Canada to resettle Haitians from Champ de Mars

January 11, 2012 - Today, on the occasion of the second anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced that Canada has committed to resettle 5,000 families (approximately 20,000 individuals) displaced by the 2010 earthquake and restore the Champ de Mars, a major public park in Port-au-Prince, for all Haitians to enjoy once again.

"Canada is proud to be a part of the international efforts to help Haiti as it recovers from the earthquake over the past two years. We are fulfilling our commitment to the Haitian people so they can move forward to building their communities and their country," said Minister Oda. "The Champ de Mars project is a comprehensive Canadian initiative that focuses on the future of Haitian families and businesses as well as restoring a national landmark and place of pride for all Haitians as a public park for all to enjoy."

The project will contribute to the creation of revenue-generating activities and the rehabilitation of two neighbourhoods damaged by the earthquake, by improving basic infrastructure and providing access to essential services such as water and sanitation.

The Government of Canada is providing $19.9 million over two years to finance the resettlement of camp residents.

This project responds to the priority of the Government of Canada and CIDA to support Haiti's post-earthquake reconstruction. Working with the Government of Haiti and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the project will rehabilitate the infrastructure and local economies of earthquake-affected neighbourhoods.

The project will help re-establish and register 500 informal camp businesses (most owned by women), train 50 entrepreneurs, create 2,000 local construction jobs (e.g. for debris removal, rebuilding and repair of damaged houses) in the neighbourhoods where residents will resettle, as well as rehabilitate community services. In the process, certified construction training will be provided to 240 Haitian workers.

On the eve of the second anniversary of Haiti's earthquake, Minister Oda visited Haiti and saw first-hand many results achieved through Canada's commitment to the Haitian people. She also discussed with Haitian government officials long-term development opportunities and challenges facing Haiti.

While great needs remain, Canadians should be proud of their contribution which every day, helps improve the living conditions of the people of Haiti. The Government of Haiti recognizes the generosity of all Canadians and Canada's support in many areas, particularly in the immediate response following the earthquake.

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For more information, media should contact:

Justin Broekema
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: justin.broekema@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Backgrounder

The Housing Action Project (Champ de Mars)

The Housing Action Project in the Champ de Mars responds to a critical need expressed by the Government of Haiti: the resettlement of persons displaced by the 2010 earthquake through the offering of sustainable housing solutions. Facing the destroyed Haitian Parliament building, the Champ de Mars, an important public park, is now one of the four largest camps for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Haiti and provides temporary shelter to 5,000 families (approx. 20,000 individuals).

The Champ de Mars camp is divided into ten zones. The first four zones (1,831 families) are expected to be resettled in the first months of 2012. Six remaining zones (3,169 families) will be resettled over the course of 2012-2013. The resettlement of IDP camp residents currently living in the Champ de Mars will be done according to the relevant human rights norms and standards maintained by the International Organization for Migration.

Through this initiative, registered camp residents will be matched with case workers who will assist them in finding suitable rental accommodation or repairing their houses via the provision of one-year subsidies. Case workers will ensure that every family is fully informed about the housing subsidy support they are entitled to and the timelines for making their decisions. A project information office will be established near the camp to answer questions and follow up on any issues or complaints raised by camp residents.

As Canada's lead implementing partner for this initiative, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will coordinate, with other multilateral organizations, the following activities:

  • Camp residents' registration, evaluation of individual families' housing needs, provision of rental subsidies to families, and final closure of the Champ de Mars camp;
  • Debris removal in targeted neighbourhoods, demolition of non-reparable houses and reparation of damaged but reparable houses;
  • Training and certification of construction tradespersons, delivery of business support and training for camp entrepreneurs, and provision of relocation subsidies to camp businesses; and
  • Provision of financial support to receiving communities to rebuild essential community infrastructure and services.

While great needs remain, Canadian initiatives are making a difference in the lives of Haitians. Canada is on track to disburse more than $1 billion in Haiti (2006-2012) to implement long-term development and to meet immediate humanitarian and reconstruction needs, which includes Canada's $400-million post-earthquake commitment over two years. Canada has fully earmarked both the $400-million commitment and the $220-million Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, set up to match eligible donations by Canadians to registered Canadian charities. Canada is delivering on its commitment to Haiti.

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