Rubble remains eight months after Haiti earthquake

Rubble remains eight months after Haiti earthquake

From the dusty rock mounds lining the streets to a National Palace which looks like it is vomiting concrete from its core, rubble is a ubiquitous reminder of Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

Rubble is everywhere in the capital: cracked slabs, broken-up cinder blocks, half-destroyed buildings that still spill bricks and pulverised concrete on the sidewalks.

Some places look as though they were flipped upside down, or are sinking to the ground, or listing precariously to one side.

By some estimates, the quake left about 25 million cubic metres of debris in Port-au-Prince, more than seven times the amount of concrete used to build the Hoover Dam.

So far, only about 2% has been cleared, which means the city looks pretty much as it did a month after the January 12 quake.

Government officials and outside aid groups say rubble removal is the priority before Haiti can rebuild. The reasons why so little has been cleared are complex and frustrating.

Heavy equipment has to be shipped in by sea. Dump trucks have difficulty navigating narrow and mountainous dirt roads.

An abysmal property records system makes it hard for the government to determine who owns a dilapidated property. And there are few sites on which to dump the rubble, which often contains human remains.

No single person in the Haitian government has been declared in charge of clearing the rubble.

This means foreign non-governmental organisations have taken on the rubble removal task themselves, often fighting for a small pool of available money and contracts. The work is done piecemeal, with little co-ordination.

“There’s not a master plan,” sighed Eric Overvest, country director for the UN Development Programme. “After the earthquake, the first priority was clearing the roads. That was the easiest part.”

More on this topic

Haiti quake remembered, two years onHaiti quake remembered, two years on

Memorial services held on anniversary of Haitian earthquakeMemorial services held on anniversary of Haitian earthquake

Cholera reaches Haiti's packed capitalCholera reaches Haiti's packed capital

Haiti: Quake-ravaged capital threatened by cholera outbreakHaiti: Quake-ravaged capital threatened by cholera outbreak

More in this Section

Smoke shrouds Sydney’s skyline as wildfires burn nearbySmoke shrouds Sydney’s skyline as wildfires burn nearby

Andrew project suffers sponsorship blow amid Epstein statement callsAndrew project suffers sponsorship blow amid Epstein statement calls

Medics to get day-in-the-life experience of bowel disease patientsMedics to get day-in-the-life experience of bowel disease patients

‘Wearable glucose monitors may benefit people with diabetes and memory problems’‘Wearable glucose monitors may benefit people with diabetes and memory problems’


Lifestyle

Tis the season for sequins and excess, but minimalists can stick to their style guns in the season’s next level neutrals. From low-key glitz that’s perfect for party wear to the wardrobe heroes with trans-seasonal appeal, slide into neutral for maximum style with minimal effort. Carolyn Moore reports.Low-key glitz for minimalists with this season's neutrals

How to plump, hydrate and get rid of spots fast before your Christmas party.The Skin Nerd: Getting your quick fix for the festive party season

Irish photographer Seamus Murphy brought music star PJ Harvey to Afghanistan to film part of their documentary, writes Esther McCarthy.Headlong into the war zone in new documentary

Kya deLongchamps shows us how to champion our environmentWinter greens: How to champion our environment this season

More From The Irish Examiner