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A look at the Haiti earthquake on the 5-year anniversary

January 10, 2015 GMT

A look at the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and its aftermath:


THE DISASTER: A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck just before 5 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2010, in southern Haiti, destroying more than 100,000 buildings and damaging 200,000 in densely packed Port-au-Prince and surrounding towns. Haiti’s government put the death toll at 316,000, while some estimates were lower. An exact accounting was impossible given the widespread devastation. Many Haitian officials and police officers died in the quake, leaving the government paralyzed. The United Nations, which has had peacekeepers in the country since 2004, lost 102 staffers in the disaster, the largest single loss of life in its history. In the immediate aftermath, more than 1.5 million Haitians were living in crowded camps, often sheltered by little more than plastic tarps.


THE RECOVERY: More than $12.4 billion in humanitarian and development aid and debt relief was pledged by more than 50 countries and international agencies, with at least 80 percent of that disbursed, according to the United Nations. Much of the aid was channeled through contractors and humanitarian groups rather than directly to Haiti’s government. The U.S., the biggest donor, has largely sought to rebuild infrastructure and improve the health system and economy, hoping to improve conditions that made Haiti particularly vulnerable to disaster. Venezuela, another major donor, also funded numerous infrastructure projects. Shantytowns and tent camps have gradually dwindled as people moved back to old homes or found new ones, often with rent subsidies provided by international donors. Some landowners and public agencies also evicted people by force.


THE FUTURE: There are still about 80,000 people in camps, and the government predicts they will be gone by the middle of this year. There are few visible signs of the quake itself and most badly damaged buildings have been razed. Parts of the capital are bustling with new construction and hundreds of schools have been rebuilt. But Haiti is still a deeply poor nation, with an official unemployment rate of about 40 percent and the World Banks says more than 6 million out of roughly 10.4 million inhabitants live under the national poverty line of $2.44 per day.