Haiti's recent troubled past

Everyone knows that Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.And everyone knows that it’s an hour and thirty minutes from Miami, Florida. Or most people know that. So, how in the world can we let this happen?...

I do not think that foreign aid is the solution to the world’s problems. I think it can only do a limited amount, and it doesn’t do that very well. A lot of foreign aid goes into relief. They wait for the disaster, and then they put the money in...

Why did these hurricanes have this impact this time? It’s not like we don’t have a history of it, it’s not like we didn’t know it was going to happen again, some time. God forbid the day we get one that hits Port-au-Prince head-on, because it’s going to be really disastrous.

This is Anne Hasting, director of Fonkoze, alternative bank of the poor, in fall of 2008, speaking to reporter Ruxandra Guidi about the damage from the latest hurricanes to hit Haiti. That year, four hurricanes and tropical storms hit Haiti in quick succession, causing mudslides and floods that wiped out the coastal town of Gonaives, killing some 800 people and displacing millions.

Take a moment to watch the narrated slide show, produced by journalist Ruxandra Guidi with photographs by Roberto Guerra and a haunting soundtrack by Luis Guerra.

In these next few days, we turn from our initial horror at Haiti’s new catastrophe to the dizzying, widening view of a human disaster that will take years to recover from. This eerily prescient video is now an artifact of Haiti’s immediate past, when Port-au-Prince, with its houses and markets, slums and palaces, churches and hospitals, was still standing.

Thanks go to reader Luke Seidl for the tip.