PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive says the government will appropriate land to build temporary camps for quake victims.
The decision is potentially explosive in a country where a small elite owns most of the land in and around the capital.
That elite, a traditionally corrupting force in Haitian politics, has the power to bring down the government.
The government owns some land but not enough, Bellerive said in an interview Thursday, meaning he has no choice but to take over private terrain.
He would not say how much land will be appropriated.
A report posted at the website of the International Organization for Migration yesterday said at least 1,112 acres of flat, non-flood plain land is needed to settle 100,000 displaced people and Haiti’s government has identified only 47 acres.
The Jan. 12 quake left 1.2 million homeless, about half of them in Port-au-Prince, meaning the government would need to find a total of at least 6,672 acres for quake survivors in the capital, where about a third of Haiti’s nearly 10 million people are concentrated along with the government and almost all industry.