On January 12, 2010, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck Haiti. In the year following the devastating quake, there has been slow progress in rebuilding the country. With international help (including help from you!), some of the debris has been cleaned up and some buildings have been rebuilt, but lots of rubble still remains. There have been other problems, like a cholera epidemic that has sickened thousands of people. Cholera spreads in areas with bad sanitary conditions, and the earthquake made Haiti’s sanitation worse.
Why has recovery been so slow? One big reason is that Haiti doesn’t have a stable political environment, which makes cleanup efforts difficult. “So what’s going on is what we used to call stovepipe reconstruction, where certain areas and types of structures are being reconstructed or built anew but there is no overall plan. Because, among other things, it’s really unclear if there is a Haitian government at this point,” says Richard Olson of Florida International University and director of the Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas program.
Read more about the state Haiti is in on the anniversary of the earthquake on National Geographic News.
Read about the earthquake on the News Bites blog.
Read about how you helped Haiti by sending in donations on the News Bites blog.
Get facts about Haiti on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Eduardo Munoz, Reuters