Over the weekend, Haiti marked a dismal anniversary. Three years ago on January 12, the small country, known as the La Perle des Antilles (the pearl of the Caribbean) was ravaged by a catastrophic earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale.
Commemorating the three-year anniversary, Haitian President Michel Martelly held a small ceremony at the presidential palace. During the event, Martelly announced a new building code in an attempt to strengthen the small nation’s ability to withstand other natural disasters.
Former President Bill Clinton was also on hand, expressing hope for Haiti’s future. “I think that you will see particularly in the economic sphere, a lot more in the coming year,” he said. “Haiti is projected to have the highest growth rate in the Caribbean but we have to speed up some of the infrastructure. We have to repair the agriculture. We’ve got to build more houses. We’ve to get people out of those tents.”
Unfortunately, even with his optimism, Clinton has not been exempt from an inability to bring in money for Haiti. His $55 million-business fund for the country, founded with former President George W. Bush halted operation last month.
In the aftermath of the quake, devastation was widespread with dilapidation reaching hospitals in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, ruining communication centers, blocking roads with debris, and damaging roughly 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings, and claiming more than 200,000 lives.
Three years later, and with delayed rebuilding efforts, many residence are still living in living on make-shift camp grounds.
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