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

    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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    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.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    More Americas News

    Haitian Lawmakers Choose Jocelerme Privert as Interim President

    Privert said after the vote he hopes to lead a government that will 'foster confidence within all sectors of society'

    Mexico Accuses Prison Officials of Homicide after Brutal Riot

    Warden, two others detained following one of deadliest prison riots in Mexico's history last week; ‘Who is directly responsible? ... The director of the penitentiary,’ state prosecutor says

    Pope Tells Mexican Leaders to Provide 'True Justice'

    Pontiff warns nation's president, lawmakers against permitting privilege for an elite class at the expense of the rest of society

    More than 5,000 Pregnant Colombian Women Infected With Zika Virus

    Total number of people diagnosed in Colombia has reached 31,555, the National Health Institute says in its Epidemiology Bulletin, among them 5,013 pregnant women

    Pope-Patriarch Meeting Seen by Russians as Significant

    Meeting in Havana on Friday between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill was the first between the two church's leaders

    The Internet Comes to Cuba ... Slowly

    Smartphones prevalent, but only to make or receive calls, as mobile Internet access severely limited to certain areas; restriction has its charms, some say