News / Americas

Haiti Rebuilds Slowly Under New Government, Prime Minister

Nearly two years after a 7.0 earthquake hit its capital city, Port-au-Prince, Haiti is rebuilding.  Slowly. Forty percent of the international aid money that poured into the island has still not been distributed because of the disorganization within the government that followed the quake.  Now, a government under musician-turned-President Michel Martelly and newly-confirmed Prime Minister Garry Conille is grappling with the task. 

Haiti's president lives in the elite suburb of Peguyville, where some walls are painted in the pink and white colors of his campaign.  The wealthy neighborhood shares its sidewalks with the poor, left homeless after the 2010 earthquake.

Haiti Rebuilds Slowly Under New Government, Prime Minister
Haiti Rebuilds Slowly Under New Government, Prime Minister
Just down the road is Port-au-Prince.  The quake's impact - evident here too.  The rubble.  The foundations.  The open drains.  Nearly everything waits for repair.

The Haitian Presidential Palace shows just how much rebuilding needs to be done.  It looks the same as it did nearly two years ago.  And, directly across from the Palace is a tent city.

After the earthquake, more than a million Haitians moved to public parks, set up a tarp and called it home. Six hundred thousand still live in these tent cities.  Why? It's a question for Haiti's President.

A tent city in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti
A tent city in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti
“How do you lure businesses here when the first thing they see when they come out of the airport is a tent city, the first thing they see at the presidential palace is a tent city?” VOA asks.

“That’s not all that Haiti’s about," notes Martelly. "Once you leave Port-au-Prince, you see a lot of things.  You see beauty, you see wealth, you see a rich country with humongous possibilities.”

To show off those possibilities, President Martelly flew some builders north of Port-au-Prince - to find land for 3,000 new houses. But it's been a slow process since the quake shattered Haiti's infrastructure and destroyed 17 of 18 government ministries. 

"But up until now 21 months after the earthquake we find the people's living situation has not changed at all," noted Ghemps Desauguste who is with a group demanding land and houses now.

The Martelly administration says it takes time.

“We are trying to identify homes first for these people, so they walk out of a tent and go into a home,”  Martelly explained.

Haiti Rebuilds Slowly Under New Government, Prime Minister
Haiti Rebuilds Slowly Under New Government, Prime Minister
There are new, pre-fabricated houses for sale in Haiti. But even at a price of only $5,000, builder Jean Mark Louishomme says tent city residents cannot afford them.

"They can't, they can't," he emphasized. "But the NGOs or government can buy this and build them for them."

That's not the government's plan, though.  President Martelly invited VOA to join his presidential motorcade into the central plateau of the country, where the government will build affordable housing.  He says it's a major step toward Haitian independence, and away from foreign loans.

"We will change this country.  I’m determined.  The people of Haiti want a better life,” Martelly said.

The president admits there is much to be done.  It’s a country where in 35 seconds, in a 30 square kilometer area - 300,000 people died.

Timeline of Haiti's Presidents

on Dipity.


Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

China's Xi Praises Close Ties with Cuba

Head of China's Communist Party hails common socialist bond between his country and Cuba as he kicks off a state visit in Havana
More

US Judge Orders Argentina, Creditors to Reach Deal

Lawyers for investors who declined to restructure bonds after country defaulted on about $100 billion in 2002 are warned that time is running out to reach a deal, avert fresh default
More

Trial Imminent for Detained Venezuelan Protest Leader Lopez

Lopez's wife, Lilian Tintori, says outside pressure needed on Venezuelan president to move case forward
More

Sex Workers Seek HIV Prevention

The Lancet publishes new series on HIV
More

Texas Gov. Perry Orders State National Guard to Border

Governor says he took extraordinary measure to help secure the border, his critics say it is a political stunt
More

Cuba Hopes for More Investment as Chinese President Arrives

Chinese President Xi Jinping begins a two-day visit to Cuba on Monday evening
More