Four Years Later, Haitians Remember Devastating Quake

Four Years Later, Haitians Remember Devastating Quake

January 12 marked four years since a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, costing an estimated 200,000 lives and displacing more than 2 million people.

It is estimated that almost 150,000 people are still living in 271 displacement camps in Haiti, according to Chiara Liguori, Amnesty International’s Caribbean researcher. She says those living in camps often reside in appalling conditions.

As if unsanitary conditions weren’t enough, Liguori notes, refugees now face the risk of being evicted from their shelters. Authorities in post-quake Haiti designated a number of “public use” areas for people to construct makeshift shelters. But the government’s failure to compensate those who had originally owned the land and houses now designated for public use has resulted in attempted land grabs and refugees being forced from their shelters.

On Sunday, January 12, services throughout the United States, Haiti, and around the world remembered the devastating day, honoring lives saved and lost in the disaster.

Four years ago Marie-Antoinette Laurent lost her niece in the quake. She had been attending law school in the United States, but returned to Haiti to visit her mother just ahead of the earthquake. She never returned.

Laurent says that her faith in God and the relationships within her church community have helped her through the hardest of times.

“That’s the only way we can cope with the sadness and everything else,” she says.

Publication Date: January 14, 2013.