Haiti President Martelly criticises aid on quake anniversary









Haiti’s President Michel Martelly has said international aid to help Haiti recover from a devastating earthquake three years ago is not working. In a speech to mark the anniversary, Mr Martelly said the government had directly received only one third of the aid pledged. Aid donors needed to co-operate more closely with the Haitian government, he added.

Some 200,000 people died in the earthquake, the authorities said.

More than 300,000 Haitians remain in temporary shelter with poor sanitation.

“Where has the money given to Haiti after the earthquake gone?” asked the president.

“Most of the aid was used by non-governmental agencies for emergency operations, not for the reconstruction of Haiti.”

Cholera outbreak

He said he was not asking for absolute control of all aid funding, but rather trying to achieve a better balance between official and NGO programmes.

“Something is not working,” Mr Martelly said, calling for everyone involved to reassess the recovery initiative.

Much of the Caribbean nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince, was devastated by the powerful earthquake that struck in the afternoon of 12 January 2010.

The presidential palace was one of thousands of buildings destroyed in one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.

“We have recorded damages of nearly $13bn (£8bn),” Mr Martelly told journalists who had gathered at the palace for a short ceremony marking the anniversary of the disaster.

Haiti has since been affected by landslides and hurricanes, as well as an epidemic of cholera and rampant crime.


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Haiti marks anniversary

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – President Michel Martelly urged Haitians to recall the tens of thousands of people who lost their lives in a devastating earthquake three years ago, marking the disaster’s anniversary Saturday with a simple ceremony.

Former President Bill Clinton joined Martelly later in the day for a similarly quiet wreath-laying commemoration.

“Haitian people, hand in hand, we remember what has gone,” Martelly said in the morning as a gigantic Haitian flag flew at half-staff before him on the front lawn of the former National Palace, a pile of tangled steel reinforcement bars nearby. “Hand in hand, we’re remembering, we’re remembering Jan. 12.”

Martelly thanked other countries and international organizations for their help since the Jan. 12, 2010, disaster.

Clad in black, several dozen senior government officials gathered where the opulent white palace stood before it collapsed in the temblor and was later demolished. Foreign diplomats and Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova, earlier named by Martelly as one of Haiti’s goodwill ambassadors, were also there.

In the speech, Martelly announced a government contest seeking designs for a monument to honor those who died in the quake. He also said the government had just released a new construction code aimed at ensuring new buildings are seismically resistant in hopes of preventing the same kind of catastrophic damage in any future earthquake.

In the late morning, Clinton, the UN special envoy to Haiti, joined Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe in placing a wreath at a mass burial site north of the capital of Port-au-Prince. None of the three spoke at the event.

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