Situation Grows More Desperate for Haiti/D.R. Refugees

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 21, 2015) – Families who recently fled to Fond Bayard, Haiti, from the Dominican Republic are finding themselves in a desperate situation. Many are living under tents made of tarps after they had to leave the school in which they were taking shelter. With the start of the school year, the families are living in what Food For The Poor-Haiti staff call “heartbreaking conditions.”

A site visit late last week revealed that the situation has deteriorated, and the FFP-Haiti staff sent photos with an urgent request to the Florida office for more help.

“My heart was broken in July when I visited these families and saw them living in a shell of a building with no sanitation, no running water, and now I am distraught to learn that the situation has gotten worse,” said Food For The Poor President/CEO Robin Mahfood. “Despite our delivery of food, water and basic hygiene supplies to this community every week, they are suffering. It is more important than ever that we get them into permanent homes in a safe place.’’

The charity announced last week that it is building homes for the families who have been living in limbo in Fond Bayard. The Haitian Government has donated 76 acres of land on which FFP has pledged to build 100 homes for displaced families from the D.R., as well as 20 homes for families already living in an area of Artibonite, where this new community will be established. 

Food For The Poor has been providing aid to Pacado and Téte-á-l’eau in the Anse á Pitre area, and in Malpasse, since the border crisis between the two countries reached its peak in July. The condition of those who have set up camp in Fond Bayard shocked relief workers used to serving in desperate situations.

According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 66,000 people are believed to have fled to Haiti to avoid threats of deportation from the Dominican Republic.

The new community will have concrete block homes with flush toilets and water cisterns.  Each family also will receive a solar light kit. The new residents will receive training in self-sufficiency projects, such as beekeeping, animal husbandry, aquaculture and agriculture. A community center also will be built, where vocational training in plumbing and auto repair will be provided. A clinic will be built for the community’s medical needs as well.

The situation is the result of a change in the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court in 2013, which removed citizenship from anyone born after 1929 who doesn’t have one parent of Dominican blood. The country later decided that those affected could apply for a residency permit, with a deadline of Feb. 1, 2015.

 “With so much happening in the world today it’s easy to forget about the crisis that’s brewing on the island of Hispaniola. Closing our eyes to the situation will not make the problem go away. The people crossing from the Dominican Republic into Haiti are in desperate need of assistance and they need housing. This latest revelation makes it even more urgent, and we really need everyone to help us” Mahfood said.

To help, please visit www.foodforthepoor.org/crisis.

Food For The Poor, named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.

Kathy Skipper

Director of Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6614
kathys@foodforthepoor.com