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World News

March 28, 2010

Shelter plan emerging ahead of Haiti donor meeting


"We need to put people in the environment where they're from before they start moving people," said Pierre Ronal Romelus, a neighborhood representative coordinating with the U.S. team.

Not everyone feels like they're getting help.

Dorothy Moise, a 35-year-old nursing student, said she wants help leave the shack her family built after their concrete home crumbled. The metal, wood and tarp structure is better than some — it has a jury-rigged electrical hookup for the television — but water flows across the floor when it rains.

Her 1 1/2-year-old son, Chrisley, has constant diarrhea. Her 6-year-old daughter, Sephara, is home all day because schools remain closed.

The camp manages itself, as has nearly every one in Port-au-Prince for the last two months, with a committee that looks for aid and maintains security. Moise provides some nursing care to her neighbors.

But with no money, they will go wherever someone can provide new homes and jobs.

"I'd go somewhere else if it had everything I need," Moise said. "But this is the place I live, I know it well."

Acree and his workers said they are taking the first step: making land available in the neighborhood itself. The Virginia native, a civilian with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, leads a team of at least 100 Haitians, along with Dominican equipment drivers and U.S. advisers.

In the first week of debris removal, they picked up nearly 90,000 cubic feet worth, trucking it to a recycling center.

Acree sees this as a pilot program that could be expanded across the capital. Going further comes down to money of the sort donors are discussing in New York this week.

Much of the $2.8 billion pledged last week by U.S. President Barack Obama has already been spent on projects, including the Turgeau cleanup.

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