Haiti Struggles One Year After the Earthquake

A camp in Haiti. From the CBS Evening News, Jan. 11, 2011.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - The shaking started just before 5 p.m., Jan. 12, 2010. Within moments, much of Haiti was in ruins and hundreds of thousands were dead or dying. Seven months later, 1.5 million people were still housed in tent cities.

Today, it's half that number, but still huge. Haiti is still rebuilding. But it's a slow process. CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports from Port-au-Prince.

It's almost one year after Haiti's earth-shattering quake and refugees are still living in a squalid, sprawling tent city in the hills above Port-au-Prince. Mary Deorose, her 3 children, 6 family members in all, live, eat, sleep in a tiny tent. She has no job and some days no food. She relies on charity.

"I never imagined I'd be living here a year later," she says, "but I have no alternative." She could be speaking for the entire country.

Haiti: The Road to Recovery

The sound of hammers rebuilding Haiti is surprisingly rare. The quake left 15 million cubic yards of rubble in Port-au-Prince. That's enough to fill 5,000 Olympic swimming pools. Less than 20 percent has been cleared.

The sound you are more likely to hear is the crying of children suffering from cholera. One 3-year-old year old girl was too weak to cry.

Haiti: Then and Now

Just as Haitians were struggling to get on their feet, the cholera epidemic erupted in Oct. 2010, and knocked them back down. More than 170,000 have contracted the deadly disease, spread by waste-contaminated water. More than 3,600 have died of dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea.

Sylvain Groulx of Doctors Without Borders, said they've seen close to 100,000 patients since the beginning of the outbreak.

Groulx said it's "still going, we're seeing 4,000 to 5,000 people every week."

Return to Haiti

Survival is a daily struggle for the hundreds of thousands of Haitians still living in tent cities across the country - like the one where Mary Deorose lives on what used to be a golf course.

We first visited the makeshift city two weeks after the earthquake. Much has changed there. For one thing, there just about 40,000-50,000 people here - that's half the population from right after the earthquake. The camp has also taken on an air of permanence.

Natasha Fontiner, a shopkeeper, said, "Pigs shouldn't live like this."

International donors pledged almost $6 billion to earthquake relief. Only $2 billion has been dispersed. Why? Relief workers say they're being cautious to make sure the money goes to where it can do the most good.

Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton said "To be fair to them, they have a right. They have people they represent. They have a right to know that there's a model that's likely to work."

Relief workers say it will be at least a decade before Haiti gets back to where it was before the quake. Even then it was the poorest nation in the hemisphere.
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