'We're living that day': A decade later, Haitians remember devastating 2010 earthquake

Global News Morning’s Antony Robart reflects on the devastating earthquake that occurred in Haiti 10 years ago.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI—On a bustling afternoon in Port-au-Prince, it’s difficult to drown out the noise.

It forms a sonic tableaux of sorts: motorbikes buzzing by, trucks honking, sizzling from vendors and debates about politics, as people and schoolchildren in their uniforms try to squeeze by.

But the people who reflect on the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Haiti earthquake are heard loud and clear.

“Mêm bagay” is the response from Dorcius Fritzner, which, translated from Haitian Creole, means “same thing.”

Dorcius jumps off his motorbike and says resources in Haiti are barren, likening it to a desert. Running through a long list of issues, including children not able to attend school, accessing clean water, unemployment and gas shortages, his frustration is evident.

Dorcius Fritzner speaks to Global News journalist Antony Robart.

Dorcius Fritzner speaks to Global News journalist Antony Robart.

Courtesy: Barry Donnely

The young father of two adds that people are scared. He is worried about his future and finds it difficult to make a better life for his family.

A vendor selling patties tells us she’s frustrated with the government’s inaction. She says she never saw any of the food and supplies distributed and believes the government kept things for themselves.

She lost several family members 10 years ago and has a difficult time thinking back to that fateful day.

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On Jan. 12, 2010, the nation was already on shaky socio-economic ground when it was rocked by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. The Haitian government estimates 316,000 lives were lost and 200,000 people were injured.

But that number is widely criticized as being inflated. Other reports from international agencies suggest 220,000 people died and 300,000 were injured.

At the time of the earthquake, Guillano Louis was shopping in Port-au-Prince. He remembers seeing buildings crashing down, crowds running and bricks falling on people.

Guillano says he felt like that was the end.

He explains that he “watched people suffering and dying. It was crazy. It was really crazy.” He recalls hearing people crying from under fallen roofs.

Guillano says it’s still fresh in the minds of Haitians.

Guillano Louis walks by a vendor in Port-au-Prince.

Guillano Louis walks by a vendor in Port-au-Prince.

Courtesy: Barry Donnely

“I don’t think that’s ever going to go away, because ’til today, we’re living that day,” he said.

“We’re still living in that same moment, in that same time.”

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In response to the disaster in Haiti, Canadians donated $220 million to public programs between the date of the earthquake and Feb. 12, 2010. The Government of Canada matched that number, giving it to eligible organizations.

Global Affairs Canada says Ottawa has contributed $1.458 billion in international assistance to Haiti from 2010 to 2018.

Ten years after the earthquake, a question that remains for many is where the money went.

Speaking to Global News, Guillano, like other locals we spoke to, says he feels “there’s been no real progress.”

“Someone needs to say something,” he said.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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