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Cité Soleil

Cité Soleil (Kreyol: Site Solèy, English: Sun City) is an extremely impoverished and densely populated commune located in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area in Haiti. Cité Soleil originally developed as a shanty town and grew to an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 residents, the majority of whom live in extreme poverty. The area is generally regarded as one of the poorest and most dangerous areas of the Western Hemisphere and it is one of the biggest slums in the Northern Hemisphere. The area has virtually no sewers and has a poorly maintained open canal system that serves as its sewage system, few formal businesses but many local commercial activities and enterprises, sporadic but largely free electricity, a few hospitals, and two government school, Lycee Nationale de Cite Soleil, and Ecole Nationale de Cite Soleil. For several years until 2007, the area was ruled by a number of gangs, each controlling their own sectors. But government control was reestablished after a series of operations in early 2007 by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). with the participation of the local population.

The neighborhood is located at the western end of the runway of Toussaint Louverture International Airport and adjoins the grounds of the former Hasco Haitian american sugar complex. It began with the construction in 1958 of homes for 52 families. In the summer of 1966, a mysterious fire in the slum of La Saline displaced many of its residents. 1,197 homes were built there and it was named Cité Simone, after Haiti's First Lady:Ovide SImone Duvalier. In 1972, a major fire near the central market of Port-au-Prince displaced yet more people who ended up in the Boston section of Cité Simone. In 1983, the census recorded 82,191 people in Cité Simone.[1]