Haiti Earthquake, One Year Later

One year after the earthquake in Haiti, there's still much to be done. CBS/Erin Lyall

One year after the earthquake in Haiti, there's still much to be done.
CBS/Erin Lyall

Bill Whitaker is a CBS News correspondent based in Los Angeles.

PORT-AU-PRINCE - The first thing I noticed on returning to Haiti, one year after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake, was that tons of rubble have been removed from the roads.

In the first month after the quake, collapsed buildings spilled into the streets turning them into apocalyptic obstacle courses, making driving nearly impossible. Today the driving is nearly impossible because traffic is as thick and congested and frustrating as before the quake.

Haiti: The Road to Recovery

Another thing that jumps out at you: the makeshift tents, made of tarps and sticks and blankets have been replaced by real tents provided by the UN and U.S. Though the structures are better, they are still tents and a glaring reminder that one year after the quake more than 800,000 Haitians still are homeless.

A year ago the magnitude of the devastation shocked the world: 230,000 killed, 1.5 million left homeless.

Return to Haiti

Now it seems Haiti is stymied by the magnitude of the recovery. Few collapsed buildings have been cleared away. Few houses have been rebuilt. The hundreds of thousands still living in tent cities have no idea when or even if they will ever get a real home. The seat of government literally was flattened in the quake. A recent presidential election still is being hotly disputed, all leading to government inaction.

In one hilltop neighborhood Catholic Relief Services has built almost 200 two-room houses. It's slowly starting to transform this community. But the need is so great - 90 percent of the houses on the hilltop collapsed - that it will take years even for this one neighborhood to come back.

  • Bill Whitaker

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