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The view from Hotel Montana in Petionville, up the hill from Port-au-Prince. The hotel was destroyed in the earthquake and has since been rebuilt. The brown mountainsides surrounding the city are a reminder that 98 percent of the nation’s forest cover has been razed, mostly to create charcoal for cooking.
Haiti was left with 10 million cubic meters of debris; about half of it has been cleared, but many remaining sites are behind surviving houses inaccessible to heavy machinery. More than 300,000 Haitians have found temporary employment in rubble removal. Teams of workers are paid by how many cubic meters of rubble they remove.
Workers in the Bel-Air section of Port-au-Prince carry out the rubble from a crumbled home—where a family of nine all perished—bucket by bucket because the alley to access the site is too narrow even for a wheelbarrow.
Haiti’s Presidential Palace (one of many now-depressing gifts from the French nation) remains an icon of the disaster across the street from one of the larger tent camps.
Mario Heriveaux points to the cracks the quake left in his home, where he and his family of five continue to live. A local government project called CARMEN (a French acronym), a partnership with the United Nations, will provide Heiveaux engineering assistance toward restoring his home to seismic safety.
Children have little space in the dense tent camps of downtown Port-au-Prince.
The most colorful things in Haiti are the elaborately painted trucks and public transport vans, called tap taps.
In Carrefour, outside Port-au-Prince, a soccer field—like almost all the large public spaces around the capital—has been converted into a tent camp.
Residents of Carrefour apply for new birth certificates. Thousands of Haitians lost their documentation in the quake, leaving them, in the words of the United Nations, “stateless.” Many never had a birth certificate at all, because just 30 percent of Haitians are born in a hospital.
Farther from overcrowded Port-au-Prince, shanty life affords more space, but still no electricity and sparse access to clean water.
In the desert about 10 miles outside Port-au-Prince, Camp Corail is the only official resettlement camp with semi-permanent housing. Tens of thousands of residents moved here hoping for better services. The government promises a Korean textile factory will open nearby, bringing 20,000 jobs.