Tomorrow marks the ten-year anniversary of the most devastating earthquake that has ever hit Haiti. The powerful magnitude 7.0 earthquake destroyed the infrastructure in Port-au-Prince and countless buildings in the capital city, killing hundreds of thousands of people and leaving more than one million homeless.
As part of a response team from an international humanitarian agency, I was deployed to Haiti for a couple of weeks five months later. It was an unforgettable experience to say the least. I am not going to talk about that trip in detail in this post, but I just wanted to draw your attention to the anniversary and share a few things from that trip that have been etched on my memory.
I remember seeing huge cracks in the terminal building when I looked out of the aircraft's window after landing in Port-au-Prince. That was the first evidence I saw of the earthquake and the damages it caused. Luckily, the runway was still in good condition for commercial jets to land and take off.
I remember it was pouring rain when I arrived at the team house where I was going to stay. As the storm clouds were moving out, I captured this image of the sun rays breaking through the clouds as the sun was getting ready to set. To me, it was a symbol of hope after weathering the darkest storm.
I remember being taken to my room and shown my bed. It had a clean bed sheet with a mosquito net hanging over it. On the other side of the room was another bed similar to mine which was occupied by my teammate from Africa. The house was mostly intact, but the plumbing was only partially working.
What else do I remember? Lots. I remember ...
- The kids on the street who surrounded my ride begging for money.
- Mountains of rubble with people crawling on them salvaging metal and other materials to sell.
- A mother with a hopeless expression on her face cradling her motionless baby in her arms and sitting on the sidewalk.
- A few young kids bathing in a black filthy puddle by the roadside.
- The look of pain, loss, and trauma in the eyes of a local staff member who was taking care of the team house. (I never saw him smile.)
I could go on, but I'll stop here.
If you haven't, I invite you to view my post from last September titled Post-quake Haiti which was the first one I made after joining PhotoBlog. You will find more photos there which capture what I saw when I was in Port-au-Prince.
Lastly, may I also invite you to hold a moment of silence to remember all the victims who perished, received life-changing injuries, or suffered unimaginable losses on that fateful day ten years ago in Haiti.