Haitian President Jovenel Moise on Sunday placed a floral wreath at a memorial to the hundreds of thousands of victims killed in a devastating earthquake.
“We ate together, we slept together, we cried together, we prayed together,” said Moise. “[But now] hatred and discord have filled our hearts … Today we need that solidarity, that unity” the nation had in the aftermath of the quake.
On January 12, 2010, a disastrous 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck on the outskirts of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, killing more than 300,000 people, according to government figures.
More than 1.5 million others were left without homes, triggering an unprecedented humanitarian situation on the island. Foreign government and international organizations pledged billions of dollars in aid but most economists agree that little actually made its way to the victims.
“It’s a lost decade, totally lost,” Haitian economist Kesner Pharel told Agence France-Presse. “The capital has not been rebuilt, but our poor governance is not the exclusive responsibility of the local authorities.”
“At the international level we have not seen a mechanism for managing aid that would allow the country to benefit,” he said.
It remains unclear how much aid Haiti received in the wake of the earthquake, but most experts say it was more than $10 billion (€9 billion).
Haiti remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Nearly 60% of the population lives on less than $2.40 per day.
Many of the survivors left Port-au-Prince for places such as Canaan, which lies about an hour’s drive outside of the capital. In Canaan, what was once a pristine hillside has been converted into a sprawling network of shanties now home to more than 300,000 people.
“If we were to have a quake of the same magnitude, the results would be the same,” said Pharel. “The country was never rebuilt, and we’re back to square one.”
ls/cmk (Reuters, AFP)
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