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2010 Year in Review: Haiti
December 29th, 2010
09:04 AM ET

2010 Year in Review: Haiti

Editor’s note: This week, The Chart is taking a closer look at the most important health stories of 2010. Each day, we'll feature buzzwords and topics that came to the forefront over the past year.

In just 30 seconds this year, an earthquake devastated the impoverished nation of Haiti.

The damage from January’s quake was widespread. One-third of the population was affected. The 7.0-magnitude quake took 230,000 lives, injured more than 300,000 and left 1.3 million homeless.

The images are hard to forget: entire communities wiped out, parents lining lifeless bodies of their children on rubble-strewn streets, injured survivors pleading for help.

The world listened. Within 24 hours, an outpouring of donations and aid poured in, providing water, food, household items, shelter, and health services. There was a venting of compassion. At one point, the largest public hospital in Haiti had too many doctors.

An estimated 4,000 schools were affected by the earthquake, which led some organizations to start makeshift schools in tent-cities. Thousands of injured survivors have received medical treatment, including major surgeries, prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation. More than $3 billion dollars was committed to rebuild Haiti.

But despite the generosity of millions around the world, a year later much remains the same. More than 1 million people still live in makeshift camps. Their tents and tarps are now weathered and lined with holes. Several of the remaining hospitals in Port-au-Prince have closed because of lack of staff and funding. Damaged buildings and homes remain in nearly the same condition as they were one day after the earthquake.

Aid organizations say the challenges are largely due to a lack of communication as well as red tape between government officials. Also, while money is helpful to purchase supplies, aid groups need more manpower on the ground to physically distribute aid and provide care.

The number of volunteers in Haiti has been drastically depleted. The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, says it is recruiting licensed health care professionals and will match the volunteers with organizations on the ground to continue the rebuilding effort.

If the earthquake in January wasn’t enough to bear, 2010 also brought ravaging rains and a hurricane to the capital of Haiti. In October, an outbreak of cholera surfaced. It has since killed more than 2,000 and infected another 200,000.


soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. jitters

    no more aid workers or money until those able-bodied boys and men take charge of the clean-up and get to work...otherwise next year you will be writing.."much remains the same"... 98% of the debris not cleared yet? unacceptable! get to work!

    December 29, 2010 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Leslie

    Why is more manpower needed in Haiti? The unemployment rate is over 70% (that number includes men only), there population is around 650 people per acre and the average pay rate is around $4 per day. It would seem that there is plenty of available workers in Haiti. Why must workers be from another country?

    December 29, 2010 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • myboywill

      how will the Haitian people working be paid each day? Who pays them? Who acutally hands them the cash?
      Haitians are very hard working people. They will work all day for $2. Who puts the money in their hands at the end of a 10 hour day?

      December 29, 2010 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
  3. GaryGuillermo

    Haiti is a basket case I think most people would agree with that. The question is why? Every leader they ever had robbed the country . . .Papa Doc, Baby Doc . . . they almost had a Rapper Doc (BLING).

    December 30, 2010 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Tshidi

    Thank you for spreading the word about Haiti. Yes, today I too found it iompssible to think about or blog about anything else.I visited Hait this past summer and my life will never be the same. Prior to this earthquake, life in Haiti was harsh, to say the least. Now, I cannot imagine the conditions and the suffering. In Haiti, I visited an orphanage called Danita's Children (www.danitaschildren.com) and saw a little bit of heaven in hell. Danita and Brenda, one of the other missionaries, have since visited me in my home. They are beautiful women, both inside and out. The orphanage in now planning to make room for more orphans. These people are not "foreigners," they are our neighbors and need our help. Again, thanks for letting people know how to reach out and help others.

    April 9, 2012 at 04:35 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.