News / Americas

Haiti Mourns Earthquake Dead ahead of 1st Anniversary

A woman displaced due to the Jan 12, 2010 earthquake holds a child as she rests next to her tent and belongings before leaving the refugee camp at the Saint Pierre park in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dec 14, 2010
A woman displaced due to the Jan 12, 2010 earthquake holds a child as she rests next to her tent and belongings before leaving the refugee camp at the Saint Pierre park in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dec 14, 2010

Haiti is holding observances ahead of the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that shook the country, leaving more than 200,000 people dead, 1 million others homeless and widespread destruction.

On Tuesday, President Rene Preval presided over a ceremony on the outskirts of the capital, Port-au-Prince, at a mass grave where tens of thousands of quake victims are buried. Mr. Preval was joined by other officials and by his wife as they paid their respects to the dead.

The powerful, 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the impoverished Caribbean nation just before 5 p.m. local time on Tuesday, January 12, 2010.  The quake - the most powerful to strike Haiti in more than 200 years - left much of the capital and surrounding areas in ruins and people buried under tons of rubble.  

The presidential palace and the headquarters of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti were among the buildings that collapsed in the quake.  More than 100 members of the U.N. mission were killed, including the mission chief, Hedi Annabi, and his deputy, Luiz Carlos da Costa.  

On Wednesday, the first anniversary of the quake, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to take part in a wreath-laying ceremony in the U.N. lobby.  A 47-second period of silence also is scheduled to mark the duration of the earthquake.

Secretary-General Ban said through a spokesperson Tuesday that the earthquake was "a disaster of unparalleled magnitude," and he called for efforts to help survivors to be redoubled and renewed.  

The quake was centered about 16 kilometers from the Haitian capital and struck at a depth of just 10 kilometers.  It was followed by several aftershocks, one of which had a magnitude of 5.9.  The quake knocked out communications across the capital, making it difficult to get accurate details regarding casualties and damage.  Some residents, however, used social media such as Twitter  and Facebook to send pictures of the devastation to news organizations.

In the days that followed, the United States launched a major civilian and military response to the quake. Other countries also provided relief to the Western Hemisphere's poorest country, as did aid agencies.  

Celebrities from the entertainment industry, sports, media and politics joined forces for a two-hour, multi-network telethon to raise money for victims.  The commercial-free program, "Hope for Haiti Now," aired on the U.S. music television network, MTV, and several other cable and broadcast stations.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Haiti in the days after the quake, as did her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton.  Mr. Clinton later returned to Haiti in March with former President George W. Bush, after both of them established a fund to raise money for quake victims.  

Billions of dollars also were pledged to help Haiti at a March donors conference, but reports say only a fraction of the money has been delivered. Mr. Clinton, who was visiting Haiti Tuesday, has voiced frustration at the slow pace of reconstruction in the year since the quake.  Mr. Clinton also serves as the United Nations special envoy for Haiti.

On Tuesday, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Haiti said he hopes most of the earthquake victims still living in tent camps can move to more secure housing by the end of this year.

In a conference call, Nigel Fisher said that, optimistically, the number of displaced people in the camps could be reduced by about 75 percent - from its current level of 800,000 to about 200,000 - within the year.  But he stressed that is still a lot of people.

Hundreds of thousands of people already have left the camps since the earthquake destroyed homes, leaving much of Port-au-Prince in rubble.  The U.N. says of the 700,000 who have moved elsewhere, about 100,000 have been relocated into 31,000 transitional shelters built since the disaster - 1,000 shelters ahead of the target.

Along with the quake recovery, Haiti is dealing with a cholera epidemic that has left more than 3,600 people dead and infected about 170,000.  More cases are expected.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Pope Beatifies Murdered Salvadoran Archbishop

Hundreds of thousands of worshippers converge on Salvadoran capital to witness papal declaration for late Oscar Romero - now one step from Roman Catholic sainthood
More

Scores Killed in Western Mexico Gunfight

Officials say almost every person killed in Michoacan state shootout was a suspected gang member
More

Latest US-Cuban Talks Ends in Washington

Both sides cite progress on restoring diplomatic ties, but no final agreement reached
More

Tutu Lends Support to Age Campaign

Help Age International has launched Action 2015 campaign
More

Colombia Kills 18 FARC Rebels

The bombing raid took place in the Cauca region of western Colombia
More

Lawmakers Question Normalization Effort With Cuba

On eve of next round of US-Cuba talks, Senator Bob Menendez calls engagement 'one-sided'
More