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 TV, Radio, and Multimedia awards, as well as a Clarion for her TV coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, Google Glass & Other Wearables, and the 9/11 Anniversary.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.

    More Americas News

    Haiti's President Leaves Office Without a Successor

    Embattled Haitian President Michel Martelly left office Sunday as required by Haiti's constitution, ending his 5-year term with no one elected to replace him

    'Revenant's Inarritu wins top Directors Guild Prize

    Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's win, with only weeks to go before Academy Awards on February 28, race is still as wide open as ever

    Colombia: 3,100 Known Zika Cases in Pregnant Women

    But Santos says in televised address in his country that there's still no evidence definitively linking the virus to microcephaly in newborns

    Pope to OK Use of Indigenous Languages for Mass in Mexico

    Move before trip to the country next week is symbolic gestures in defense of Indian rights

    Ecuador Sacks Military Top Brass Over Questioned Land Deal

    Armed Forces apparently sold 66 lots to Environment Ministry for $48 million, but report from Attorney General's office says they were worth only $7 million

    Video Zika Virus Dubbed Inconsequential Except for Link to Microcephaly

    Virus fairly harmless overall, health expert says, but possible link to thousands of babies born with underdeveloped brains causing alarm worldwide