Haiti”s post-colonial history has been marked by political turmoil, misrule and dire poverty; the country is the poorest in the western hemisphere with more than half the population living on less than $1.25 a day. Food insecurity is chronic and Haiti is highly dependent on international aid and imports. Deforestation and lack of emergency preparedness have made the country vulnerable to frequent natural disasters, including hurricanes and torrential rains.
More than three million people ÔÇô some 30% of the population ÔÇô were affected by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas on 12 January 2010. Around 220,000 people were killed, 300,000 injured and over one million left homeless.
Despite the massive outpouring of international aid, efforts to rebuild Haiti are painfully slow. In January 2012, more than two years after the quake Haiti, about 515,000 Haitians were still living in 707 camps scattered across Port-au-Prince.
The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is present in seven camps in the capital.
Photo: Christian Fuchs/JRS