Reflecting on the Haiti earthquake 10 years later

Published On January 13, 2020 | By Sydnee Walcott | International, News
Josie Destin rides a motorbike past the Cathedral after attending a memorial service in Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 12, 2020. (REUTERS/Valerie Baeriswyl)
Sydnee Walcott

Although 10 years have passed since Haiti was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, there is still work that needs to be done.

On January 12, 2010, Haiti was ravaged by an earthquake claiming the lives of an estimated 220,000 people, injuring 300,000 and leaving 1.5 million people displaced.

Yesterday, Montreal’s Haitian community gathered together for two days of commemorations at the TOHU Arts Centre to mark the tenth anniversary of the quake.

Gael Stephenson Chancy, an earthquake survivor and youth worker for La Maison D’Haiti in Montreal, said he was grateful for the Canadian government providing support to Haiti but felt as if there’s still more work to be done.

“I know there’s a lot of projects that go on and I know that a lot of them don’t work, but I have to say in my case I’m very glad the government supports other projects,” Stephenson Chancy said.

Vendors sit in Caradeux, a camp for people displaced by the January 2010 earthquake, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 2020. (REUTERS/Valerie Baeriswyl)

Despite all the efforts made to help, recovering from the aftermath of the earthquake has been a challenge for Haitian citizens as there are people who are still displaced and still don’t have any access to basic necessities.

As soon as news of the earthquake spread, many donors from around the globe swiftly responded to help those impacted, by donating almost $10 billion along with an additional $3 billion to help charities with rebuilding the country.

They were also faced with setbacks such as the cholera outbreak that happened in October of that year, and hurricanes causing more destruction and political problems.

And now 10 years later, residents of Haiti are saying things are still the same as they were the day the country was hit by the earthquake.

“I didn’t really have to adapt, but I’m aware of the challenges because I had Haitian friends who did not have Canadian family or connections,” said Stephenson Chancy.

He views himself as one of the lucky ones who survived the quake and immigrated to Canada. Adapting to Canadian culture wasn’t a challenge for him as he has relatives who live in Canada, while some of his friends in Haiti didn’t have that.

While sharing his story about his journey from Haiti to Canada, Stephenson Chancy also said there is still work that needs to be done in helping those who are suffering from the aftermath ten years later.

In particular, Stephenson Chancy said Haiti needs help rebuilding homes, schools, orphanages and businesses.

He also said there needs to be more help for those who were psychologically affected by the earthquake, which helped him learn how to express his feelings instead of keeping them bottled up.

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