Haiti quake reconstruction slow
Nearly one year after an earthquake in Haiti killed more than 200,000 people, including 58 Canadians, many survivors are living in tents surrounded by rubble. Signs of reconstruction are scarce.
The United Nations estimates it has only been able to remove five per cent of the rubble in a year because as soon as workers haul away debris, people clean out their homes and fill the streets with more.
Residents once resorted to taking picks and shovels to move the rubble themselves, but it's a monumental task, and it's come to a virtual standstill.
Corruption is also slowing down reconstruction efforts. Canadian aid agencies told CBC News they can't remove supplies that have arrived in port unless they pay thousands of dollars under the table.
The Haitian government complains that aid agencies are trying to operate under the radar. There are 10,000 aid agencies in the country, but only 465 have registered with the government.
The result of this battle for control has been a halt to reconstruction, which has kept people in massive tent cities, wondering how they're going to survive the next hurricane season.
Amid the fear and frustration, Haitians are preparing to mark the one-year quake anniversary on Wednesday.
Government and foreign aid agencies say they plan to leave the day open for Haitians to mark the way they want to — whether it's with voodoo priests, at a Catholic mass or as part of an evangelical gathering.
Michaëlle Jean, the former Canadian governor general and now UNESCO special envoy in Haiti, will be in Port-au-Prince.
"This moment of reflection is needed," Jean said. "We have a duty to remember but also to pull ourselves together."
She will take part in a memorial ceremony at the University Quisqueya that will include the families of those killed on campus, as well as faculty and students who survived the collapse of buildings. She will meet later with women who have established a centre for physically and psychologically traumatized victims, including hundreds of injured children.
"Our task is not to kill hope, but to nourish it through real action that is a co-ordinated, integrated, inclusive, transparent and creative", Jean said.
Government officials were to hold a service at a mass grave outside Port-au-Prince where many of the quake victims are buried.