And for the survivors, what now? The buildings that are still standing are no doubt unsound. How do you house and feed three million people when the government couldn’t provide basic services before the earthquake, in a country whose meager resources were massively concentrated in Port-au-Prince?

One of those I have heard back from is Windy. She worked at St. Joseph’s Hospice, the hotel where I spent my last two weeks in Port-au-Prince. She was on her way home when the earthquake hit. The hotel, a three-story building with a hospital for poor rural mothers and children on the ground floor, collapsed, she wrote. Then she switched to Creole.

Mpa kapab anko.

I can’t take it anymore.

Jonah Engle , who graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2009, is a freelance reporter based in Montreal. His work can be found at