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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Venezuelan Protesters Burn Leaders in Effigy

Hundreds take to streets of Caracas Easter Sunday demanding ‘resurrection of democracy; President Maduro’s image among those burnt
More

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians
More

Audit Finds US Housing Aid Program in Haiti Falls Short

Results show post-earthquake USAID program has delivered only a quarter of planned number of homes at nearly twice the budgeted cost
More

Mourning, Memories in Garcia Marquez's Languid Hometown

Nobel Prize-winning author's early years in Aracataca inspired characters, tales for major novel
More

Powerful Earthquake Rattles Mexico

US Geological Survey says quake measuring 7.5 on Richter scale, was centered in the western state of Guerrero, north of Acapulco beach resort
More

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support
More