Five years on from the Asian tsunami, people in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India have safer, more comfortable homes, secure jobs and are better prepared for disasters.
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As a result of the tsunami, a lot of people lost their documents proving which land they owned.
The regional government office storing all the other copies had been destroyed too, so it became very hard to know who owned what. Some land was lost to the sea completely.
The strength of the waves altered the shape of the coastline and other areas were inundated with water, so many people had to be relocated to new areas assigned to them by the government.
To try to tackle some of these issues, we have been working with our partner, the Legal Aid Foundation, who provided legal aid to people who had lost their land deeds in the tsunami.
Filed under CAFOD, Indonesia
Yesterday, shortly after Xavier and Aninha of the Pastoral Land Commission came to tell us about their work helping people out of bonded labour and slavery in the rural north of Brazil, we saw images of a violent eviction of participants in a CAFOD and EC-supported programme in São Paulo promoting housing for the poorest.
More than 2,000 people were evicted from a squatter community in southern São Paulo by 240 riot police – called “Shock Troops” – in the southern part of São Paulo. With the teargas, rubber bullets, and police cordons, most were barely able to get their meagre belongings.
The images were a stark reminder of how, even though the Brazilian constitution is on the side of the people, it does not take much for the rich and powerful to keep one step ahead of the poor in the courts.
Witnessing this eviction from afar brought me back to June, when I visited a newer Camp in the eastern part of São Paulo.
Filed under Brazil, CAFOD
Hot, dusty, sweaty, smelly Tegucigalpa is a city of 1.8 million. Its name means “hill of silver” in the local indigenous language, and it is indeed extremely hilly – which means many people are in danger from regular landslides.
Some of the hills can move up to one metre a year – for example, we saw a 90-year-old church which was totally taken out when the hillside it was on moved eight metres in the rains last October.
Filed under CAFOD, Honduras
Election eve improvements in São Paulo's slums
São Paulo’s metropolitan area is estimated now at over 23 million people. Until 2002, the Master Plan of the city had been gathering dust for thirty years.
During that time, slum populations swelled. The rich moved into enclaves out of the city centre. The poor also were driven out of the centre, forced to occupy precarious areas, and build the slums upwards.
São Paulo is one of the richest and largest cities in Latin America — and there is no denying, for many, it is a beast.
Filed under Brazil, CAFOD