January 12, 2011 marks the first anniversary of a fatal 7.0-magnitude earthquake which shook Haiti to its core leaving more than 250,000 victims. Haiti, already heavily marred by a vicious cycle of environmental devastation, severe deforestation was hit once again by an intense hurricane season in both 2008 and 2009. An estimated 1.3 million people (15% of the population) have lost their homes, including a heavily damaged middle class that has sought refuge amongst family but continues to use the camps for resources and aid from the international community.
On the outskirts of Port-Au-Prince some 40,000 internally displaced people are living in the Canaan and Obama Settlements, some as squatters and some under the authority of the government. These camps surround the only IDP camp the government and the international community have been able to sustain, Camp Corail, with 8,000 people and a wave of social inequities, some of which have caused riots and frictions amongst the camp sectors.
The reconstruction effort has been minimal and hindered by land property issues. Landowners in many cases have refused to allow homes to be rebuild on their land, miring the reconstruction efforts, because many wish to invest in different economic ventures. The delays in reconstruction reflect bureaucratic red tape in donor nations and the complexity of rebuilding a country plagued by corruption where local government and its centralization continue to demand and take a cut of the international community’s investment aid.
With a fragile infrastructure, a snarled land-title system and a weak government even before the disaster, the month of October brought with it a new plague, the outbreak of an epidemic from cholera disease. According to scientists in France who have analyzed the cholera strain, there is an agreement that it’s origin is the same as the strains in south east Asia, adding pressure to the United Nations peace force from Nepal as the possible source of the contamination. By December 2010, more than 2500 people have officially died of the disease and more than 100,000 already affected.
Since January 2010, photographer Carlos Cazalis has been documenting the Carribean country from the consequences of the earthquake on the victims through the housing crisis up until the precarious Cholera situation.