Haiti Quietly Marks Quake’s 3rd Anniversary

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Haiti’s previous presidential administration said 316,000 people were killed but no one really knows how many died. The disaster displaced more than a million others.

Most of the rubble created by the quake has since been carted away but more than 350,000 people still live in grim displacement camps.

Many people had hoped the reconstruction effort would have made more headway by now, but progress has been stymied by political paralysis, the scale of devastation and a trickle of aid.

Jan. 12 was observed as a national holiday the last two years to remember the quake. This year, the government said the day would no longer be a holiday but called for the Haitian flag to be flown at half-staff and for nightclubs and “similar establishments” to close.

The anniversary this year has been used by Haiti observers to criticize the reconstruction process and by foreign aid groups to promote their work and raise money. The European Union announced Saturday it was giving Haiti 30.5 million euros for displaced people still living in camps, as well as victims of a subsequent cholera epidemic and those affected by Hurricane Sandy late last year.

The Clinton Foundation also announced that it was contributing about 40 solar-powered streetlights to a housing community north of Port-au-Prince for deaf families who were relocated there.

But for some Haitians, it was just another day.

“We can’t remain focused on January 12th,” said Asaie St. Louis, a 56-year-old teacher and devout church-goer, Bible in hand. “It’s passed already.”

(AP PHOTO: Relatives of those who died in the 2010 earthquake walk in single file to place a cross on a hilltop to remember those who died in the devastating earthquake.)

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