A Look Into the 2010 Haiti Earthquake: Haitian Earthquake Survivor Sebastien Jeanton


This January will mark the 7th anniversary of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake that killed thousands and left the country in chaos. Junior Sebastien Jeanton is a proud survivor.

“None of us knew it was coming, it was a huge shock that suddenly happened and I would never think it would happen because the last earthquake was almost 200 years ago. We were just getting ready to sit down to dinner. I had just gotten home from school. And then all of a sudden there was a loud grumbling noise and everything started shaking. We all ran outside. Needless to say we ended up not eating that dinner,” said Jeanton, who was nine years old when the earthquake hit.

Jeanton, who was born in Florida to Haitian parents and moved to Haiti at the age of two, lived in the capital of Haiti, Port-Au-Prince.

“My home was completely fine except for some broken glasses and vases and some walls surrounding the property that fell. My house was the only standing structure in the neighborhood. Nearly every building and house collapsed in that area,” he said. “My family was fine thank [God] but a few of our close friends and other relatives died; some from the physical impact and others from the emotional shock afterwards.”

Jeanton left Haiti two weeks later because his school closed down and went back to Florida, but returned to Haiti a year later and lived there for another four years.

“I still love the country since it had been my home since I was 2 years old. I love the abundance of nature, the people, the landscape. None of that has changed,” he said.

He added that he doesn’t mind when people ask him about the earthquake, because he likes being able to say he’s a survivor. The earthquake also brought him a new perspective on life.

“It brought new perspective of how we need to appreciate life more and be closer to our loved ones because you never know what can happen,” said Jeanton.

An interesting thing to note is that he grew a greater appreciation for animals as a result of the earthquake.

“My dogs helped save my family and I and protected us with their lives. My house had walls surrounding the property and 2 of this 4 walls collapsed. My two dogs would each take turns checking the perimeter of the property all night long in case a burglar came. They would also bark to warn us right before there was an aftershock. After making the rounds all around the property they would run back to us and check to make sure we were all still there and all alright. The dogs repeated this routine every few minutes all night long without sleeping. They would only go to sleep when day time finally came. I think my dogs were true heroes in our family. This is the reason why I want to become a vet, so that I can take care of animals the way they’ve taken care of me.”