Climate Refugees Resettlement

Benjamin Petit

2015 - 2016

Dominican Republic

300,000 people live in slums subject to flooding along the polluted Ozama River in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Floods up to 20 feet occur several times a year due to the increase of extreme weather events caused by global warming.

The Dominican government decided to resettle 7,000 people from one of the most precarious areas of Santo Domingo, La Barquita. These residents have been moved into social housing across the bank in La Nueva Barquita. Once settled and after 10 years paying the same rent, these inhabitants will automatically become owners. The Dominican State is also currently expanding its transportation system to give to these families access to the city and to employment.

Activities like cock fights, betting booths and billiard rooms are banned from the New Barquita. Consultations with women living in the Barquita have decided to ban all activities where men were losing their money and abusing alcohol. A few families won’t be relocated because they were not identified during the census that determined which ones would be displaced. Families are settling in apartment blocks in the New Barquita that will protect them from flooding and will also radically change their lives.

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  • 300,000 people live in slums subject to flooding along the polluted Ozama River. Floods up to 20 feet occur several times a year due to the increase of extreme weather events caused by global warming. The Dominican government decided to resettle 7,000 people from one of the most precarious areas of Santo Domingo, La Barquita. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. September 24, 2015.

  • The 7,000 inhabitants from la Barquita will move into social housing across the bank of the polluted Ozama River. Once settled in La Nueva Barquita and after 10 years paying the same rent as they used to, these inhabitants will automatically become owners. Santo Domingo, September 10, 2015.

  • Milinia Lopez, 65, is preparing food at home in La Barquita. Ms Lopez and her family run an illegal cock-fighting pit. Laws and regulations are not enforced in La Barquita. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. September 9, 2015.

  • Teenagers jump in the Ozama River from the bridge linking La Barquita to the other bank. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. July 3, 2016.

  • Young men use motorcycles to go to work from La Barquita. The Dominican government is extending the subway system and is building a cable car line to link the New Barquita to the city center. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. September 7, 2015.

  • Men gathered on a weekly basis to bet on cock fights in La Barquita. Each rooster is carefully chosen depending on its weight and stamina. Activities such as cock fights, betting booths and billard rooms will be forbidden in the New Barquita. For two years, consultations with women living in La Barquita have decided to ban all activities where men were losing their money and abusing alcohol. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. July 3, 2016.

  • Mr Garcia, 55, at home, watch his neighbors leave La Barquita to be relocated in the New Barquita. Like a few other families, Mr Garcia's family have not been allowed to be relocated and will be evicted from La Barquita. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. July 10, 2016.

  • Residents from La Barquita wash themselves in the polluted Ozama River. Most of these inhabitants don't have access to running water at home. Industries dump polluting substances directly into the river, upstream of the Barquita. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. September 8, 2015.

  • Julio Cesar Santos, 66, shows the level that the water reached on his home during the last flooding. Mr Cesar Santos has been living in La Barquita for 26 years. He is looking forward to move into the New Barquita. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. September 8, 2015.

  • Cruz Garcia's grand-daughter, Yarenny, 8, is watching TV under a mosquito net in her home in La Barquita. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. July 10, 2016.

  • Cruz Garcia (right), 51, argues with social workers because her family have not been allowed to be relocated in La Nueva Barquita. According to social workers, Ms Garcia and her family were not identified during the census that determined which families would be displaced in 2012. A political poster of the newly re-elected Dominican president, Danilo Medina, is pasted on her home. President Medina initiated this relocation program when he took office in 2012. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. July 7, 2016.

  • Morena Maria, 42, stands at the entrance of her home moments before her family gets displaced to La Nueva Barquita. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. July 1, 2016.

  • Children play in the rubble of La Barquita. During the first days of the relocation, displaced families return to La Barquita to visit friends and to see their destroyed previous home. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. July 2, 2016.

  • Teenagers use a canoe to move along La Barquita on the Ozama river. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. September 8, 2015.

  • Kisairy Gonzales (left), 17, and Rosa Nicole Segura, 16, listen to music on their cellphone. They moved to La Nueva Barquita with their families two days before. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. July 6, 2016.

  • Elvita Alcanta, 43, lives in a ground floor apartment in La Nueva Barquita. She reflects on the major change of lifestyle this relocation has provoked. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. July 6, 2016.

  • Children play in one of the playground built in La Nueva Barquita. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. July 5, 2016.

  • Yound security officers in charge of patrolling La Nueva Barquita exchange with teenagers who recently moved in. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. July 6, 2016.

  • La Nueva Barquita is composed of social accommodations that will protect its inhabitants from flooding. Approximately 30 families have been relocated everyday from July 1, 2016 in La Nueva Barquita. The 7,000 inhabitants from La Barquita have been relocated by October 2016. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. July 5, 2016.


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