Thursday, January 12, 2012

Haiti still in ruins two years after earthquake

It has been two years since the catastrophic earthquake that destroyed Haiti and yet even after all the humanitarian efforts that have gone on, the country is still basically in ruins. The presidential palace is nothing more than a pile of rubble still. Port-au-Prince's cathedral also offers a striking symbol of the failure of an international aid effort.

"I've been here for the past two years," Wilbert told AFP, admitting he found it hard emotionally to move on from the disaster. "I cannot detach myself from this place where I lost my two legs," he said.

UN fact sheets highlighted the hundreds of thousands of people relocated from tent cities in 2011 but the pace of reconstruction has been painfully slow. That is partly explained by the cataclysmic scale of the January 12, 2010 disaster, which killed, injured or displaced one in six of the Caribbean nation's entire population, razing some 250,000 homes in the capital alone. But Haiti was also already the economic basket case of the Western Hemisphere, a dysfunctional country often ruled by a corrupt elite while 80% of the population lived below the poverty line, most in stinking slums.

Despite considerable achievements, including in the areas of rubble removal and the resettlement of displaced persons, many Haitians remain in need of international assistance," Ban said.

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