News / Americas

A Year After Devastating Earthquake, Haiti Remembers

A group of Haitians mark the first anniversary of the magnitude-7.0 earthquake with a candlelight vigil and march in Port-au-Prince, 12 Jan., 2011.
A group of Haitians mark the first anniversary of the magnitude-7.0 earthquake with a candlelight vigil and march in Port-au-Prince, 12 Jan., 2011.

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +
Jeff Swicord

January 12 is the first anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, one of the worst catastrophes ever in the Western hemisphere.    Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, one million were left homeless, and much of the country is still in ruins.  Schools are closed and shops opened late across the country as many take time to honor the dead and remember.  

Thousands gathered for a  Catholic Mass in the shadow of the destroyed  National Cathedral in downtown Port au Prince.  One year later, they bid remembrance to the day the earth shook, buildings crumbled, and lives changed forever.  

More than 200,000 died from Haiti's devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake.  And more than 1 million were left homeless.  

Pierre San Fritz Robert is one of them.  In his arms, two-year-old Christela, the daughter of a neighbor killed in the quake.  A large raised scar covers half of Christela's left thigh.  She was scorched by a pot of boiling water as she fell from her mother's arms when the quake hit.  Amid all the tragedy of the last year, Pierre's is still thankful.

"In a way it is a great day for me," he said. "I can not complain because it is a miracle from god, it is a miracle from above that I am still alive."

The mass was held under a tent in front of the cathedral ruins.  Most people wore white, a symbol of mourning in Haiti.  The front row was filled with Haitian dignitaries and political candidates.  Rapper and short-lived presidential candidate Wyclif Jean, sat on the the end.  

Some people stood in front a large cross on the side of the church, waved their hands back an forth and prayed aloud.  One man lay flat.
in the rubble, a rosary lay flat on his chest.  Arms stretched, eyes wide open, he prayed to the heavens.  

The theme of the mass was about renewal.  But most Haitians are fed up with the lack of progress .  According to aid groups only five percent of the rubble has been cleared in the city.  Estimates are that 20 million cubic meters of debris remains in the city, enough to fill dump trucks half way around the world.  

The political process is marred in corruption charges and the cholera epidemic continues to take lives.  

Sitting on what was left of the steps of the cathedral, Posper Racine told us the only good thing about the past year is he is still alive.

"Life is not getting better in Haiti," he said. "Nothing has changed in the past year, if anything things are getting worse.  There is no hope."

Several blocks away Haitian president René Preval and former U.S. President Bill Clinton attended a ceremony to lay the first stone of an earthquake memorial.  The memorial will be built on the site of the destroyed national tax office.  Many of the workers were killed

President Preval laid a wreath at the site honoring all the countrys' dead.  Then he laid the first stone of the memorial.  White balloons were released into the air.

The observation of a national "moment of silence" was part of the day's observances.


Timeline of events following the earthquake January 12, 2010

Haiti Earthquake on Dipity.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Jailed American Aims to Leave Cuba 'Dead or Alive'

In Havana after visiting Alan Gross, attorney Scott Gilbert say his client has lost some vision in his right eye, walks with a limp due to hip problems, has lost a tooth and is 50 kilograms lighter than at the time of his arrest
More

Oldest Living Pro Ballplayer Dead at 102

Conrado Marrero's grandson confirmed the death, which came just two days before the centenarian's 103rd birthday
More

Summit to Protect Oceans Opens

Oceans called fundamental to life
More

Actress Lupita Nyong'o is People's 'Most Beautiful' Woman

Oscar winner, 31, lauded for role in '12 Years A Slave' says she 'never dreamed' she would be praised for her looks and land on cover of weekly magazine
More

Violent Protests Erupt Near Rio's Tourist Attractions

The rioting was sparked after word spread that the body of Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira, a dancer on Brazil's Globo television network, had been discovered
More

Russia Expels Canadian Diplomat

Reports say first secretary's expulsion in Moscow is in retaliation for deportation of Russian military attache from Russian Embassy in Ottawa
More