This paper documents the culture-specific understanding of social capital among Haitians and examines its benefits and downsides in post-disaster shelter recovery following the 12 January 2010 earthquake. The case study of shelter recovery processes in three socioeconomically diverse communities (Pétion-Ville, Delmas and Canapé Vert) in Port-au-Prince suggests that social capital plays dual roles in post-disaster shelter recovery of the displaced population in Haiti. On the one hand, it provides enhanced access to shelter-related resources for those with connections. On the other hand, it accentuates pre-existing inequalities or creates new inequalities among displaced Haitians. In some cases, such inequalities lead to tensions between the haves and have-nots and instigate violence among the displaced.
Keywords: Haiti; Haiti earthquake; disasters; displaced populations; housing recovery; inequalities; shelter recovery; social capital; temporary shelter.
© 2014 The Author(s). Disasters © Overseas Development Institute, 2014.