Disaster Zone

Dangerous Buildings Slow Haiti Recovery

With daily aftershocks still rattling Port-au-Prince more than two weeks after Haiti's catastrophic earthquake, buildings with structural damage threaten survivors. Although many people live in tent cities, aid groups say that 10 percent of Port-au-Prince residents, maybe more, have taken to camping in yards and streets, at what they hope is a safe distance from their crumbling homes. As one woman sleeping on a narrow street put it, "It's dangerous, but what can we do? We can't go to the tent cities because robbers will steal everything we have." Meanwhile, workers at the National Laboratory for Buildings and Public Works, which is inspecting buildings for safety, have been slowed by deaths in their families and the overwhelming number of damaged buildings. They've set an optimistic three-month target to inspect damaged buildings, beginning with government buildings and those presenting immediate hazards.