There is absolutely nothing wrong with Kettely Achedou's three-bedroom house in Port-au-Prince's Nazon neighborhood, yet the 39-year-old middle-class businesswoman sleeps outside on a mat.
Since the devastating Jan. 12 quake, she's afraid to go into her house. When it rains, she spends the night on her feet, huddled under an awning. Her family and neighbors do the same, having converted their street into a block-long campsite of pitched tents and mattresses. Yet not a single house there collapsed in the quake.
"Two years from now, if the earthquake hasn't killed me, you will find me right here in front of my house," Achedou said.
About 1.3 million people are living outdoors in sprawling camps or in front of their houses since a 7.0-magnitude earthquake killed more than 200,000 people and toppled thousands of buildings. More than 100 donors will meet at the United Nations on Wednesday to discuss raising $11.5 billion for short-term reconstruction, including replacement housing.
Experts say 300,000 to 400,000 of Haiti's homeless quake survivors have undamaged houses — and show no signs of going back indoors. They, like Achedou, are simply too afraid to go back inside.
"If you had been here and seen how the concrete shook, you would never sleep inside under concrete again," said Achedou's 14-year-old daughter Claire, who ran from the house naked during the January quake.
As rainy season approaches and weeks stretch into months, the same experts who had publicly advised Haitians to sleep outside are now saying time has come to go back indoors. The Haitian government, aided by the U.S. military, launched an ambitious project to evaluate every standing house before hurricane season.
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