Haitians carry the few belongings they have salvaged from their destroyed homes through Port-au-Prince.
Haitians carry the few belongings they have salvaged from their destroyed homes through Port-au-Prince. David Gilkey/NPR
In Haiti, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Many of them are living in public parks, empty lots and any other open space they can find.
Malia Yvette is one of many who have lost nearly everything.
The middle-aged woman lives in the lone structure still standing in the neighborhood of Morne Lazare. The neighborhood used to cling to a steep hillside in Port-au-Prince — now it's a swath of rubble. Some of it has even tumbled into the roadway below.
Yvette's house is toward the top of the hill. Laundry still flies from a clothesline on its roof. The structure leans precariously out over an expense of pancaked houses, shattered concrete blocks and twisted rebar.
Yvette slumps dejectedly under a tree. She points to the pile of debris in front of her. She says three of her family members are dead inside. If you look over there, another three bodies are trapped, she says. Over there, two more, she says. One of her sons is trying to smash through the concrete to get the cadavers out.
Yvette used to sell vegetables from a small shop for a living. She tugs at the tattered green dress she's wearing and says, "This is all I have now. This and this grain bag." The grain bag is empty.
She says she sleeps in a park along with several of her neighbors.
Morne Lazare is not a rich area, but in Haiti, where more than half the population lives in poverty, it was a solid neighborhood. Most of the residents had jobs, and the houses were solidly, if simply, built. Yvette says she'd like to rebuild her home, but she has no way to do it. She doesn't have anything: Just this dress and a grain bag.