Haiti Marks 10-Year Anniversary Of Devastating 2010 Earthquake Billions of dollars poured into Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, giving the economy a boost. But reconstruction hasn't lived up to what was promised and Haitians tell NPR they feel forgotten.
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A 'Lost Decade': Haiti Still Struggles To Recover 10 Years After Massive Earthquake

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A 'Lost Decade': Haiti Still Struggles To Recover 10 Years After Massive Earthquake

A 'Lost Decade': Haiti Still Struggles To Recover 10 Years After Massive Earthquake

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

The two largest earthquakes that shook Puerto Rico were estimated to be a magnitude 6.4 and 5.9. Ten years ago today in Haiti, it was a magnitude 7. That earthquake a decade ago killed more than 100,000 people. Hundreds of thousands more were injured. And much of that capital was ruined. The shaking lasted less than a minute. And the reconstruction has dragged on for years. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Nearly 10 years ago, when Louis Saint Claudelle (ph) and his family arrived here 10 miles north of Port-au-Prince, it felt like he landed on the moon. This region known as Corail-Cesselesse was rocky and desolate.

LOUIS SAINT CLAUDELLE: (Non-English language spoken).

KAHN: "Things were not good for us back then, but this was the best solution at the time for us," says Saint Claudelle. His family had been living in a squalid tent camp until they were bussed out here.

SAINT CLAUDELLE: (Non-English language spoken).

KAHN: "Who would have ever thought we'd be here so long?" he chuckles. Saint Claudelle has a wide smile and easy manner. I met him 10 years ago. He told me back then he was worried he wouldn't be able to support his family so far from the capital, so far from everything.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE #1: (Singing in non-English language).

KAHN: Today, Corail has churches, stores and schools. Together with the neighboring Canaan slum, it is home to a quarter of a million earthquake refugees. There are no sewers, no running water and few paved roads. The latrines built a decade ago for a few thousand people haven't been emptied in years. Saint Claudelle's family still lives in the one-room shelter built by aid groups to last no more than five years.

MARIE: (Non-English language spoken).

KAHN: "Look at the shelter. If you were to hit it with something, it would just break," says Saint Claudelle's wife, Marie. Reconstruction throughout Haiti didn't materialize the way many had hoped. Governments around the world donated $10 billion for recovery and reconstruction. Private charities donated $3 billion more.

PRESIDENT JOVENEL MOISE: (Speaking French).

KAHN: Haiti's current president, Jovenel Moise, says, "I don't see the results of those billions." Moise spoke to NPR in his temporary office on the grounds of the still-not-rebuilt National Palace.

MOISE: (Through interpreter) Where are the villages to house 30,000 families? Where are the grand roads around the Port-au-Prince to decongest the city? We have no schools. Where all the professional schools to train us?

KAHN: Moise lays blame on many - past governments, the country's tiny yet powerful elite and an interim recovery commission co-chaired by former President Bill Clinton that was supposed to oversee major development projects. It was disbanded in 2011 before much of the billions pledged was spent.

Critics say Moise, who has never held political office before, has done little to help since coming to power in 2017. He's accused of embezzling funds from a Venezuela-backed aid program. He denies any wrongdoing. But his opponents are demanding his resignation and have paralyzed the country in recent months with demonstrations.

MOISE: (Through interpreter) Dialogue will be the solution. And I choose for that to be among Haitians.

KAHN: But the president hasn't been in dialogue with the opposition in quite some time. The Parliament hasn't approved a prime minister or a budget for the last three years. And a state-of-the-art general hospital, funded by foreigners, sits unfinished.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE #2: (Singing in non-English language).

KAHN: Every morning, 150 employees of this call center in downtown Port-au-Prince try to lift their spirits with prayer as they start their workday. Their office is in one of the most dangerous areas of the capital. But their boss, 42-year-old Duquense Fednard (ph), gives them a daily pep talk.

(APPLAUSE)

KAHN: It's easy to find problems. The hard part is to find the solutions, he tells his workers. Fednard, like many of Haiti's diaspora, rushed home to help after the quake. He says it hasn't been easy doing business here. But his company is profitable and growing thanks to his motivated workforce.

DUQUENSE FEDNARD: We are really fighters - resilient - who really wants to fight the system to change the situation one way or another.

KAHN: Fednard is a frenetic and friendly presence. He preaches his gospel ethical entrepreneurship to anyone who will listen and says Haiti's road to recovery is through well-paid jobs like these, not through handouts. Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Port-au-Prince.

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