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Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Sunday, 11 April 2010 19:22 UK

Haiti begins relocating quake victims ahead of rains

A haitian man washes his feet outside his new tent at the Corail site
A new camp is located in Corail, a dry and dusty site outside Port-au-Prince

Operations are under way in Haiti to move thousands of people left homeless by January's earthquake to more secure locations as the rainy season nears.

People living in makeshift camps at a golf course boarded buses to be taken to a new camp outside the capital.

Those being moved are considered at highest risk from mudslides and floods.

More than a million people lost their homes and some aid agencies say the government has been too slow to identify safer sites.

Nearly three months after the quake struck, Haitian President Rene Preval said the country remained "in constant danger".

"We have to confront all the problems at the same time because the rainy season is coming and not only to Port-au-Prince," Mr Preval told the AFP news agency.

The president said his government had been working to prepare sites in Gonaives, Cayes and other cities before the arrival of the rains.

He was speaking as he visited Corail Cesselesse, some 20km (12 miles) north of the capital, where a new camp has been set up.

'Last-minute'

It is hoped that over the next couple of weeks, up to 7,500 survivors judged to be at high risk at the Petionville golf club camp will be relocated either to host families or to Corail.

People walk through mud at Petionville golf course after rains in March
Downpours have already highlighted the risk of makeshift camps

Over the weekend, a couple of hundred families were being moved.

"I've lost everything. They asked me if I wanted to go. I said yes. But I have no idea about the conditions there," Manise Raphael told Reuters news agency.

Aid workers have warned that unless more secure shelter is found for people, there could be further disasters resulting from the rains and from the summer's hurricane season.

But concern has also been expressed that people are being moved before the new sites are ready. Latrines had barely been installed before the first people arrived at Corail.

On Thursday, aid agencies Oxfam, World Vision and CARE said the Corail site had been identified very late, giving aid workers scant time to prepare a camp that would guarantee people's safety and dignity.

"We realise this is an emergency relocation due to impending rains and we are moving with utmost urgency to prepare this site," said Marcel Stoessel of Oxfam.

"But future moves cannot be done in this last-minute fashion."



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