A year later, the nation of Haiti is still destitute but its soul remains holding onto hope.
Brian W. Carter, Sentinel Staff Writer
On Wednesday, Jan. 12 marked the one-year anniversary of the 7.0 earthquake that decimated the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. The natural disaster claimed over 200,000 lives and has left millions homeless without access to the necessities of life.
The U.S. and many countries continue to respond supplying the overwhelming needs of the country. Although relief is coming to the city in small droves, much help is still needed. There were candlelight visuals held across the country as the people of Haiti remembered.
President Barack Obama had this to say on the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti:
“As we mark one year since the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, we honor the memory of the quarter of a million Haitians who were lost, along with more than one hundred Americans, many United Nations personnel and citizens from dozens of nations. We recall how Americans, civilian and military, joined with people from around the world in one of the largest humanitarian efforts ever attempted. And we continue to be inspired by the Haitian people, and our vibrant Haitian American community, who have faced unimaginable loss with extraordinary courage and faith.
“Since the first moments of the disaster, the United States has helped to rally international support for Haiti’s recovery and reconstruction and respond to new challenges, such as the outbreak of cholera and Hurricane Tomas. This global effort, led by the Haitian government, continues today and has been matched by the tremendous compassion of the American people, who in difficult economic times have given generously to help.
“So on this day when our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people, my message is the same as it was last year. Haiti can and must lead the way, with a strong vision for its future. The international community must now fulfill the pledges it has made to ensure a strong and sustained long-term effort. And as they forge ahead with the hard work of rebuilding their proud country, the people of Haiti will continue to have an enduring partner in the United States. ”
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35), a long time supporter of Haiti, also offered some words on the current conditions and the support Haiti continues to receive from the global community:
“I have long been an advocate for the people of Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. I have traveled extensively to the country both before and after the January 12th, 2010 earthquake, and know that the Haitian people are a proud and resilient people.
“Some of my work includes securing debt relief for Haiti from multilateral financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and advocating for stronger democratic and electoral processes in the country.
“I am impressed by the international community’s assistance to Haiti in its time of need, and I am hopeful for the country’s future. We must remain committed to the long-term recovery of Haiti. “
A lot has been done, but much more is still needed.