Did you feel the mountains tremble?

I looked up with a start as the wardrobe wobbled and hit the wall, and sitting on the edge of my bed I suddenly felt unsteady. Then the sensation vanished and I thought nothing of it until the email came around this morning confirming the small earthquake with an epicentre just along the coast.
The tiny trembling I felt this morning that left me more confused than unsettled, made me wonder what it must have been like in those terrifying twenty seconds on the 12th January 2010. Many of my colleagues were here and have told me their first-hand stories, of the fear and of the immense destruction and personal loss afterwards.
There are still very few two-story buildings here, and those that have been constructed feature a wooden structure on the first floor, for fear that anything heavier would cause untold damage in another earthquake. Many were afraid to even return to their houses or enter buildings for months afterwards, fearing aftershocks or another quake.
It seems the earth is shifting, as tremors were apparently even felt here after the earthquake in Japan earlier this year, and the shocks and aftershocks in Turkey in recent days demonstrate clear movements in the earth’s surface. No-one can predict where the next one might strike.
However, here in Haiti, as many have said, it is not the earthquake that killed people, but the poverty. Poorly built houses with inadequate materials collapsed, killing thousands. As the reconstruction work continues, there is an emphasis in all work to ‘build back better’ as the motto goes, to build disaster-resilient homes, and to invest in capacity building for disaster preparedness. Preparing for and building a better future.


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