Haiti: Today, a month ago
Rain soaked quake survivors in the tent camps of the Haitian capital. It’s a warning of fresh misery for the 1 million homeless living in the street one month after the devastating earthquake.
Hungry Haitians have run out of patience with their crippled government one month after the country’s huge earthquake, with the president facing calls to quit over his low-key response.
With so many buildings destroyed, the government has taken up residence in makeshift offices, with the seat of power a concrete police complex near the airport where Preval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive work.
Just after the quake, the cabinet met outside under the trees, afraid, like many Haitians doing the same thing at their homes, that the building could collapse if there were aftershocks.
President Rene Preval has rarely appeared in public since the January 12 quake that killed 217,000 and left more than a million homeless, and protests have begun against his government by those desperate for food and housing.
“The situation is not easy for you, and nor is it easy for the government, which is working in difficult conditions,” Preval said recently. He has called on Haitians to remain calm.
Even before the quake, the Haitian government’s ability to provide basic services was severely limited, with aid groups and a United Nations mission providing heavy support.
But On Friday, thousands of Haitians gathered at the center of Port-au-Prince to remember the 7.0 magnitude quake of January 12 that leveled most of their capital city.
A sea of people waved their arms in the air, prayed, cried, sang and–where space permitted–danced.
It was as if the giant crowd were celebrating a joyous occasion–not a coming-together one month after a deadly earthquake.
The memorial took place near where the stately National Palace lies in ruins and the Champ de Mars square has been turned into a huge homeless camp.
But as the rainy season approaches, and then the hurricane season, the situation for hundreds of thousands of people is still precarious and their needs urgent.
Haiti needed a lot of assistance from the world.