First Person: One Year After the Haiti Earthquake, Time to Go Home |

“When the earthquake happened, I didn’t know what it was because I had never experienced anything so severe and dramatic before. I was afraid that I thought it was an act of God.

My whole house was shaking so I went outside with my son to see what was going on, and found out it was an underground tremor. Then part of my house collapsed, and large cracks appeared in the cinder block wall.

A temporary camp opened in Deverell four days after the August 2021 earthquake.

United Nations Haiti / Daniel Dickinson

A temporary camp opened in Deverell four days after the August 2021 earthquake.

The community gathered

We were lucky, because no one in my family was hurt, but I know many neighbors. The rural community, the farmers and the people who buy goods, have come together and helped each other. We rescued many children by digging under the rubble.

I think the earthquake made us stronger as a community and helped us when we moved into the makeshift camp in Deverelle on the outskirts of Les Cayes five days after fleeing our homes.

Life here is very difficult. We live in twos and threes in small shelters made of plastic sheets. It is hot because there are no trees here and it is very muddy when it rains. We don’t have much to eat, but we continue to care for each other and share what little food we have.


When we arrived, we received a lot of support from the United Nations*. We received toiletries and were able to use a bathroom that was made for us. I got some cash payments so that I could send my daughter to school and at one point she received school meals.

Because my aunt is disabled and particularly vulnerable, she received limited financial assistance. I am very grateful for this support.

Sometimes, I can earn money by helping neighbors harvest grain, but it’s hard to find work, so I have very little to live on. Changing lives is difficult if you don’t have the financial means to do so. I want to go back home with my baby, but I’m too scared to do it before I’m healed. So, I will try to fix it and save some money.

A year after the earthquake, I am still optimistic about the future; I know I can rely on myself and my community for a better life.

*Various United Nations agencies have provided support to Placemond Millare and its neighbors, with cash transfers for the poor and disabled, as well as support for children’s education (International Organization for Migration, IOM), sanitary items (including bathrooms (IOM and UNFPA), UNICEF) and school meals, the World Food Programme, WFP. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) coordinated the United Nations’ post-earthquake response.

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