The two-year anniversary of the Haitian earthquake: speeches; an inauguration and outside opinion.
This week in Haiti marked the two-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti which took more than 300,000 lives on 12th January 2010.
The occasion was marked by peaceful marches, religious services, dedications to the disappeared, reflections and debates.
The Government declared the 12th January a national day of mourning, and so many Haitians gathered at the sites where loved ones had lost their lives. The early evening saw crowds including politicians; ex-Presidents and foreign diplomats pay homage at the Saint Christophe memorial.
President Martelly, accompanied by his wife and the Prime Minister Gary Conille, and ten children representing the ten regions that divide the island, took the opportunity to reaffirm the importance of the lessons to be learnt from the past two years:
‘Everything must be rethought and rebuilt differently. We must undo many of our habits and train ourselves in others to be able to properly defuse further risk of a return to the horrors of before’.
The date also marked the official opening of l’université Roi Henri Christophe, in Limonade, built in Haiti by the Dominican Republic. At the entrance are the words: ‘University of the State of Haiti, Limonade Campus. A gift from the Dominican Republic’.
The day after the grand opening, a lecture was held: ‘Building a Haitian university for a Haitian nation of well-being and prosperity’. In the chair was Dr Samuel Pierre, from the Department of Computer Engineering at the University of Montreal.
The new campus, comprising 72 classrooms, laboratories, library, dining hall and several meeting rooms, will be taking inscriptions from February.
‘This campus comes under the patrimony of the Haitian State University; however, to facilitate the transition, two structures have been created. The daily running will be undertaken by an extended provisional council, with the aim of supporting local teams which look after the three higher educations institutions in the region’, explained President Michel Martelly.
Elsewhere, the story of the two year anniversary is not so positive. This week, Aljazeera published an interview: ‘Haiti: the republic of NGOs?’ examining the whereabouts of the funds dedicated to it over the past two years.