5 Years After Massive Earthquake, Where Is Haiti Now?

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
Boys look out from their shelter on Nov. 1, 2013, in Pétion-ville, Haiti, at a camp for earthquake victims. 
Louis-Joseph Olivier/AFP/Getty Images

Around 5 p.m. Jan. 12, 2010, a 7.0 earthquake destroyed most of Haiti. Buildings were crushed, children were left parentless, and images of rubble and destruction became synonymous with the Caribbean country. In total, once all of the carnage was assessed, more than 100,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people were left without homes and Haiti's government put the death toll at 316,000, according to ABC News.

Five years later, after billions of dollars of aid and donations, many are still living in abject poverty created by the earthquake. NBC News notes that while some $13 billion went to the country, more than "85,000 people still live in crude displacement camps and many more in deplorable conditions."


NBC News does note that while many of the roads destroyed by the earthquake have been repaired and some businesses have been rebuilt, very few people displaced by the massive quake have acquired permanent housing.    

"I'm one of the lucky ones," Serafin Jean Rose, 33, told the news station. Rose told NBC that he moved out of a tent camp a year ago and was given enough money to build a tin house for him and his family.

According to the news station, "Ninety-five percent of the 1.5 million people who were in camps in 2010 have been moved, but many of them are still not in permanent housing. At least 200,000 people are in new hillside slums, known as Canaan-Jerusalem, where there are wooden and tin homes but no running water, electricity or sanitation yet."

NBC News notes that some celebrity-run organizations are being investigated for misappropriation of funds.


"You have donors disburse money, but that doesn't mean all that money is spent on the ground," Jake Johnston of the Center for Economic and Policy Research told NBC News.

"If the expectation was to build back better and transform Haiti's public sector, then yes, by any measure it's been a failure," Johnston told NBC News. "But that isn't to say there have not been successes."

Read more at ABC News and NBC News.

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