On Jan. 12, 2010 at approximately 5:00 PM, a tragic earthquake eradicated thousands of homes and buildings and killed an estimated 200,000 people in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
The earthquake had such a devastating impact mainly due to the type of construction of the buildings. Within hours of the earthquake, international help was sent and supporters from all over the United States were donating money to help the Haitian people. Days after the earthquake, cholera took rampage over the country. Even those who survived could still potentially lose their life.
Now, six years post earthquake, the impacts of the earthquake are still apparent in the social class. Although there has been some improvements in removing the debris from the buildings off the streets, the progress isn’t significant enough to lift Haiti out of its constant struggle, made worse by the earthquake.
Numerous Haitians are homeless. They still reside in tents placed in courtyards where their safety remains uncertain. When bad weather strikes, their lives become especially difficult because their temporary shelter is fragile and vulnerable to environmental damage. Limited amounts of food and lack of sanitary water are other major challenges also faced.
Senior Amanda Pierre went to Haiti to visit her relatives last summer. She stated that, “As you drive down the roads, all you can see are tents on the sides of the streets. The smell is very unpleasant. You can see young, skinny children running around in dirty clothes.”
The lack of significant changes reflect a corrupt government that delays the reconstruction of buildings. Haiti has a history of voting fraud, delayed election and dictatorship that have continuously detained its potential ever since gaining its independence in 1804. The haitian governmental system fails to realize that an unstable government will result in an instability in its people, causing an increase in crime and a challenge to progress.
For the sixth anniversary of the earthquake, current president Michel Martelly, first Lady Sophia Martelly, and other officials gathered in Port-au-Prince over a headstone that stated, “12 January 2010 We Will Never Forget,” which represented the thousands of dead, to pay their respect.
As a young woman of haitian descent, I think for any significant changes to be made, Haiti’s government needs to become more stable so that the people can unite for a positive change. Many people have contributed to the cause of rebuilding Haiti, yet that contribution has not been effective because no one has taken a firm enough stand to put an end to the misery experienced by the Haitian people.