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Haiti's PM Cites Post-Quake Progress

Haiti's Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe
Haiti's Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe
Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe says his country is making headway two-and-a-half years after an earthquake claimed the lives of 300,000 people and left 1.5 million
others homeless.

In a recent interview, Lamothe told Voice of America that the government has moved 250,000 people out of tents they had been living in and relocated them to homes, but he admits more still needs to be done.

The magnitude 7.0 quake on January 12, 2010 reduced dozens of government and private buildings to rubble within 25 kilometers of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. In two weeks, the government will begin construction on a new building for the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Commerce.

The prime minister explained that the Commerce Ministry was chosen because the government wants the world to know Haiti is open for business.

Haiti is getting help from the United States to build 5,000 homes and develop an industrial park that is expected to generate 40,000 jobs. The country has also begun infrastructure improvements to replace more than 40 percent of the roads. Lamonthe says the government has waived tuition for more than 1 million schoolchildren as part of a poverty reduction program that will also assist parents.

Haiti has received 48 percent of its pledges from international donors. The Haitian prime minister says the government is working with donors on remaining pledges.

The country is also working aggressively to eradicate corruption. Lamothe said more than 43 people have been arrested in the first three weeks of the latest anti-corruption initiative.

Haiti has also struggled to control cholera outbreaks, but Prime Minister Lamothe said the most recent outbreak is under control and work is ongoing to completely stamp it out.