Two years ago, on 12th January 2010, one of the most severe earthquakes recorded in history shook the country of Haiti resulting in over 300,000 victims. Almost immediately, the efforts of the international community by way of donations and relief supplies reached the island nation. Who is responsible for these efforts? Where has the money been used?
Two years on, there are still no signs of reconstruction and promised new beginnings. Unstable political and institutional structures, corruption, mismanagement and crime have gained order in this chaos. The people live in abject poverty and suffer daily from severely poor living conditions. A hopeful future for them is not in sight. Two years of struggle and heartache have followed, with very little progress to show.
I traveled there last October. Through my camera lens I portray the failure of both local and international agencies to change the current situation and the great distress of the population affected.
Editor’s Note – Antonio Marques
As in with other occurrences of major natural disasters, to a lesser or greater extent, the international community has tried to help the people of Haiti. Countries pledged large amounts of money, and personal donations soared. Unfortunately, as with previous occasions on different locations, when the control hierarchy collapses and large amounts of money are available, a more dark and sinister presence might be felt – greed. Money gets diverted, corruption is the rule, and the effects of the disaster continue for far longer than expected, or accepted. There is also a dilution of attention – something else of similar magnitude happens somewhere else and the efforts, in particular when lives are not immediately at risk, gets diverted.
Rebuilding is much less media-worthy, less dramatic, but not less important. Marco has captured a stunning essay documenting the standing of a nation on the brink of collapse, and portraying exactly what happens when that attention goes somewhere else. These images show an impressive capability for adaptation – it’s human nature to always move on. However, for these people, the earthquake never ended, the difference is that it’s not the ground shaking anymore, it’s their very lives, their survival beyond the disaster.