After the 2010 earthquake, NGOs dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage at the end of the Port-au-Prince city landfill, which borders the sea and is not lined with an impermeable material. Image by Marie Arago/NPR. Haiti, 2017.
After the 2010 earthquake, NGOs dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage at the end of the Port-au-Prince city landfill, which borders the sea and is not lined with an impermeable material. Image by Marie Arago/NPR. Haiti, 2017.

In 2011, one year after a catastrophic earthquake and subsequent cholera epidemic in Haiti, trucks delivered tons of sewage from Haiti's capital to a newly constructed sewage treatment plant outside Port-au-Prince. The plant had just opened and there were plans to build more across the country, all paid for by international donors intent on funding the kind of large-scale sanitation projects that the Haitian government couldn't afford on its own.

But, seven years and millions of dollars later, only one sewage treatment facility is operating and the future of Haiti's sewage infrastructure is uncertain. Rebeccca Hersher investigate what went wrong, and what Haiti's failing sewage system says about the limits of international aid.

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