The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday January 29th

Two-year anniversary of Haiti quake marked

MEXICO CITY (MCT) — Two years have passed since a ferocious earthquake leveled much of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and killed more than a quarter-million people. It was, as the Los Angeles put it, “one of modern times’ worst natural disasters” striking “one of modern times’ poorest nations.”

Today there is progress, including the election of a new government, the clearing of much rubble, the rebuilding of some housing and other infrastructure and the expansion of access to health care.

Yet more than 500,000 Haitians who lost their homes still live in often-squalid camps, where women and children are especially vulnerable to sexual attack and other violence.

Jobs remain scarce; the vast majority of Haitians barely scrape by. Much of the billions of dollars in promised aid has yet to penetrate. And a post-quake cholera epidemic continues to kill.

“We need to help (Haitians) build back better their communities, give them more support, bring them water, infrastructure, electricity, drainage and police,” President Michel Martelly said this week, presenting his first formal government report since taking office in May.

He noted that 80 percent of Haitians still live on less than $2 a day.

Martelly, a singer and political novice until he ran for the presidency, admitted mistakes, and his government clearly is still gaining its footing. Delays in holding the elections that brought him to power cost Haiti precious recovery time because many Western governments and relief agencies were reluctant to give money to his corrupt predecessors.

There is hope now that will change.

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