Shelter recovery in urban Haiti after the earthquake: the dual role of social capital

Disasters. 2014 Apr;38 Suppl 1:S73-93. doi: 10.1111/disa.12051.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Earthquakes*
  • Haiti
  • Housing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Relief Work / organization & administration*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Population*