A look back at Haiti since the devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake.
Created by mtlgazette on Dec 15, 2010
Last updated: 01/08/11 at 08:57 AM
There are an estimated 12,000 aid groups working in Haiti, ranging from international behemoths like the Red Cross to church-sponsored charities that support one orphanage. It's the largest concentration of aid groups per capita on the planet, yet Haiti remains one of the most miserable places in the world.
President Rene Preval asks the Organization of American States to send experts to help with a vote recount and deal with legal challenges arising from the first round of Haiti's presidential elections on November 28, which sparked violent protests.
Haiti grants Organization of American States experts full access to verify the results of the disputed presidential election. President Rene Preval, accused of rigging the election in favour of his hand-picked candidate, had delayed the recount until after an OAS mission was in place to verify the results.
Nicolas and Chiarah Djunee are one of 25 Haitian refugee families who came here with hardly any possessions after the earthquake and who are being helped by Montrealers who reached out after reading Gazette reporter Sue Montgomery's stories about quake victims in Montreal.
Clothes, furniture, dishes and utensils were donated by readers who formed a grassroots coalition. Recently, the refugee families were matched up with 25 other families who are donating gifts and toys for the children's first Christmas in Montreal, and the first one since the devastating earthquake.
Citizens take to the streets by the thousands to protest, sometimes violently, the preliminary results of the election. Three young protesters are shot dead in clashes in the southern town of Cayes. A fourth person is killed in armed clashes in the second city of Cap Haitien.
The Canadian embassy is shuttered.
(Photo: Phil Carpenter, Montreal Gazette)
About 2,000 protesters march in Port-au-Prince, demanding a rerun of Sunday's elections, which they say are skewed by fraud, as the jittery Caribbean nation awaits results. The march, in which demonstrators wave red cards calling for the immediate exit of President Rene Preval and his protege, presidential candidate Jude Celestin, is boisterous but sees no serious violence. In soccer, the referee uses a red card to expel players who commit fouls. (Photo: St-Felix Evens, Reuters)
Cholera death toll: 1,751 (Photo: Phil Carpenter, Montreal Gazette)
Members of Montreal's Haitian community get up at the crack of dawn to listen to radio reports from their homeland as voting begins. The election ends in confusion as 12 of the 18 presidential candidates denounce "massive fraud" and call for cancellation of the results as street protests erupt over voting irregularities. (Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images)
Clashes between rival political factions leave two people dead as growing violence and a raging cholera epidemic threatens to derail key post-quake elections. The victims were shot dead in Beaumont, a small town in southwestern Haiti, after supporters of leading candidates Jude Celestin and Charles Henri Baker squared off armed with firearms, rocks and bottles. Cholera toll: 1,415 dead among more than 56,000 cases, including 25,000 who require treatment in hospital. (Photo: Eduardo Munoz, Reuters)
Election preparations press ahead despite violent clashes with UN troops blamed by Haitians for importing a cholera epidemic that has now claimed nearly 1,200 lives. Hundreds of Haitians in the suburb of Petionville line up from the early morning to obtain an all-important national identification card needed to vote in the Nov. 28 national election to choose President Rene Preval's successor. (Photo: Kena Betancur, Reuters)
As Haiti's cholera toll nears 1,000, candidates insist the health crisis should not derail looming presidential polls with the rebuilding of the quake-hit nation at stake. Less than a month after the emergence of Haiti's first cholera outbreak in half a century, the confirmed number of fatalities is at 917 and rising by more than 50 each day on average. (Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images)
Hurricane Tomas soaks Haiti's crowded camps and swamps coastal towns, triggering flooding and mudslides that kill at least seven people. The centre of the storm clears Haiti's northern coast by nightfall and authorities believe the worst is over, but meteorologists warn the rain is still a threat. There are fears the flooding will worsen a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 500 people so far. (Photo: Thony Belizaire, Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
Tropical Storm Tomas hit the Caribbean’s eastern islands on Nov. 1, killing five people in St. Lucia before weakening. As it is seen gathering force and aiming for Haiti, the question becomes: How do you prepare a tent to stand up to a hurricane? (Photo: Thony Belizaire, Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
Members of the Montreal’s Haitian community launch a 646-page book yesterday outlining an action plan for the next two decades, with 175 proposals springing from conferences held in Montreal in March and May that drew 650 and 450 participants, respectively. The 10-chapter work was produced by 120 co-authors and contributors. (Photo: Montreal Gazette)
Twenty-five more fatalities bring the toll from Haiti's cholera epidemic to 330 dead, as medical teams desperately seek to contain an outbreak that they warned could "spread like wildfire." (Photo: Eduardo Munoz, Reuters)
A cholera epidemic in northern Haiti claims 135 lives and infects 1,500 people. Hospitals and medical centre are overwhelmed. (Photo: Thony Belizaire, Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
Former U.S. president Bill Clinton returns to Haiti to participate in a meeting on rebuilding. His foundation pledged $500,000 to a tent city. The Clinton Foundation says its Haiti Relief Fund will provide the bridge funding to help run the camp, where 55,000 displaced Haitians are living on the grounds of what was the Club de Petionville golf course in a Port-au-Prince suburb. (Photo: Allison Shelley, Reuters)
Hurricane Igor, swirling in the central Atlantic, sparks concerns about possible flooding in the Caribbean, including in Haiti. Coming behind it is Tropical Storm Julia. (Photo: Ho, Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
A ruling by Haiti's electoral council that disqualified hip-hop star Wyclef Jean from running for the presidency is final and cannot be appealed, a council lawyer says. Council officials said Jean, who left his homeland with his family at the age of 9 to live in the United States, doesn’t meet the requirement of five consecutive years of residency in Haiti prior to running. (Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images)
Donor fatigue hits Quebec. While Quebecers gave generously to Haiti after the earthquake, that generosity has not materialized in the wake of devastating floods in Pakistan. (Photo: Athar Hussain)
Michel Martelly, a popular Haitian musician, follows Wyclef Jean’s lead in announcing his intention to run for the presidency. Some dub the race Haitian Idol. An initiative brings together U.S. investors, businessmen and charitable organizations like North Virginia's Community Coalition for Haiti with NGOs working on the ground in Haiti, like Catholic Relief Services and World Vision. They invest more than $200,000 with the intention of increasing that amount five-fold, eventually employing 3,000 farming families. (Photo courtesy of Fonkoze)
International hip-hop star Wyclef Jean confirms he has plans to seek the presidency. The main reason: The quake. The announcement is met with mixed reactions from members of Montreal's Haitian community. While some see it as the shakeup the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation needs, others doubt Jean has the political acumen to tackle Haiti's overwhelming problems. (Photo: Allison Shelley, Reuters)
With the most dangerous part of hurricane season – August and September – still looming, 1.5 million people are either living under tarps, in tents or in unsafe housing. Enter the Canadian Red Cross, which is gearing up to construct 4,300 "hurricane-proof " shelters in Leogane, about 60 kilometres from Port-au-Prince. Another 3,200 will be built in the city of Jacmel. In all, the buildings will provide shelter for more than 37,500 people. The organization has hired a Quebec company to prepare the homes to withstand winds of up to 240 kilometres per hour. At the Maison d'Haiti, a community centre that turned into a makeshift crisis centre, director Marjorie Villefranche says only about 1,000 Haitians have been reunited with their families in Quebec. She estimates there are requests to bring in another 5,000 people. (Photo: Carl Henry Jean-Baptiste, Montreal Gazette
The most senior ranking Canadian military officer in Haiti has been relieved of command and faces several allegations in an internal investigation. Colonel Bernard Ouellette, chief of staff to the United Nations Haiti mission, was relieved on June 26 following a year-long deployment to Haiti, military spokesman Lt.-Col. Chris Lemay says, but will not confirm reports that the allegations included a claim that Ouellette had an inappropriate relationship with someone who was not a member of the Canadian Forces. (Photo: Carl Henry Jean-Baptiste, Montreal Gazette)
After six months of living first under bedsheets and towels, and now inside torn, sweltering and soaked tents suitable at best for weekend camping, the stress in Haiti's crowded and unsanitary camps is beginning to grow. Normally patient Haitians, already traumatized by the massive loss of life in January's unprecedented earthquake, are starting to lose it. (Photo: Carl Henry Jean-Baptiste, Montreal Gazette)
With her term as governor-general slated to end in the fall, Michaelle Jean enthusiastically agrees to become the United Nations' new special envoy to Haiti – her beloved homeland. As a special envoy with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Jean's task will be to promote and seek donor funds for reconstruction efforts. (Photo: John Kenney, Montreal Gazette)
Veteran Habs forward Georges Laraque hopes the Hockey for Haiti program will help speed the redevelopment for the country's sick children. Laraque visits Haiti with Nashville Predators defenceman Dan Hamhuis and Joanathan Weatherdon of the National Hockey League Players' Association. They announce that a variety of hockey-related fundraising efforts have raised more than $1 million to help rebuild Grace Children's Hospital in Port-au-Prince.
The troubled nation gives new purpose to the struggling Francophonie. The organization was active in Haiti before the earthquake, focusing on justice, education and culture. But the physical damage and the loss of lives from the earthquake mean much of that work has to be redone. The Francophonie sets aside $6.5 million for Haiti projects, counting on additional funds from CIDA and the European Union. (Photo: Pierre Obendrauf, Montreal Gazette)
Haiti's hopes for a better future hinge on the country holding general elections within the year, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon says. But members of Haiti's political elite warn the country's fractious political scene and bankrupt party coffers could throw a wrench into the plan. (Photo: Hector Gabino, MCT)
Quebec companies eager to rebuild in Haiti are in a holding pattern as an international bureaucracy sorts out how to award contracts, the province's minister of international relations says. During the trip, mayors of Miragoâne and Petit Goave, two towns near the devastated Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, sign letters of intent with Quebec industry officials to have Quebec firms involved in rebuilding two trade schools to train construction workers and nurses. United Nations member states and international aid partners pledge $10 billion for short- and long-term reconstruction, $400 million of that from Canada. But major work won't start until the fall. (Photo: John Kenney, Montreal Gazette)
First lady Michelle Obama pays a surprise visit to Haiti. "It's powerful. The devastation is definitely powerful," Obama says during her official first trip without her husband, Barack. She is accompanied Jill Biden, wife of U.S. vice -president Joe Biden. (Photo: Eduardo Munoz, Reuters)
Excavators begin razing Haiti's presidential palace, which suffered major damage in the Jan. 12 quake. With witnesses including homeless earthquake victims looking on, two yellow excavators start on the main domed area of the grandiose National Palace, built between 1914 and 1921 by architect George Baussan. (Photo: Thony Belizaire, Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
A Canadian graduate student flips a page and unearths history and hope, discovering what is believed to be the only known printed copy of Haiti's Declaration of Independence. "It was a document that I recognized immediately because ... in big, bold letters across the top it says 'Liberté ou la mort,' " said Julia Gaffield, who made the discovery in February at the British National Archives in London while researching for her doctorate in history at Duke University, in North Carolina. Even though the eight-page pamphlet is more than 200 years old, the discovery could not be more timely. (Photo courtesy of Duke University)
Canada pledges $400 million over two years toward a new international effort that gathered almost $10 billion in long-term pledges – more than double the amount sought – to rebuild earthquake-ravaged Haiti. International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda made the commitment yesterday during an international aid conference at the United Nations. The economy of earthquake-ravaged Haiti could grow at an average rate of eight per cent in the coming years, provided the international community comes to its aid, the IMF chief said yesterday. (Photo: John Kenney, Montreal Gazette)
A Miami judge orders a "miracle" baby rescued from the rubble to be reunited with her parents, thanks to a DNA test. The baby girl was just 2 months old when she was pulled alive from the ruins in Port-au-Prince four days after the Jan. 12 quake. But a U.S. rescue team believed baby Jenny was an orphan and flew her to the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for treatment. DNA tests proved she is the daughter of Nadine Devilme and Junior Alexis.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urges Haiti to hold legislative elections "as soon as appropriate," saying new polls are key to the stability and legitimacy of the Haitian government. Clinton, speaking to reporters after meeting with Haitian President René Préval, says rescheduling elections delayed by the Jan. 12 earthquake should be a top priority "to ensure the stability and legitimacy of the Haitian government." (Photo: Rogerio Barbosa, Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
Governor-General Michaëlle Jean calls the destruction in the city where she was born "unbelievable," but expresses optimism that the Haitian people can rebuild their quake-shattered country. "We are here today to tell you that Haitians are not alone," she says as she kicks off a two-day trip to Haiti to offer her support for its people and the Canadians assisting in the relief effort. (Photo: Blair Gable, Reuters)
As part of her job at the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board, Cheryl Smith-Debanné goes into schools when a student dies or a parent passes away. During her March break, Smith-Debanné is taking her training in grief counselling to a new location. She is part of a small team organized by a Quebec-based non-governmental organization that will help train hundreds of people so that they in turn can help others cope. Christian Direction initially planned to train 200 people in basic post-trauma grief counselling and accompaniment, executive director Glenn Smith says.
"As of Saturday morning, we already had 500 people registered, which is amazing in Haiti," says Smith, who chalks up the interest to the "magnitude of the need."
(Photo: Phil Carpenter, Montreal Gazette)
One of the world’s most powerful earthquakes in a century pounds Chile, killing more than 300 people as it topples buildings and triggeres tsunamis that ravage a port town and threaten Pacific coastlines as far away as Japan. Chile's preparedness and the "extent" of the 8.8-magnitude earthquake (it did not hit a large city like Port au Prince) explain why the loss of life and property was far less than the death and destruction Haiti's less powerful quake, experts say.
(Photo: Martin Bernetti, Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
The focus of Canadian relief efforts moves from emergency response to stabilization and reconstruction.
(Photo: John Kenney, The Gazette)
Canadian military forces are starting to withdraw from crisis work in Haiti and the government is nearing a "tipping point" where many of 50 Canadians still missing after six weeks will be deemed dead. That will boost the current confirmed death toll of 34 Canadians.
(Photo: Carlos Barria, Reuters)
Canada promises up to $12 million to support the construction of a temporary base for the Haitian government, which had most of its buildings destroyed or damaged. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces the new funding after meeting Haitian President René Préval and Jean-Max Bellerive, Haiti's prime minister.
(Photo: Fred Chartrand, Reuters)
The bodies of four Canadians who disappeared in the wake of the earthquake are repatriated, bringing the total number of repatriations to 23. So far, 31 Canadians have been confirmed dead in Haiti.
(Photo: John Kenney, The Gazette)
The first heavy rains bring new misery to Haitians, as hundreds of thousands of people are still living in flimsy homemade shelters. The downpour serves as a warning of the coming rainy season and the need to provide shelter for about 1.2 million people still sleeping in the streets.
A U.S. Coast Guard cutter brings 78 Haitians picked up on an overloaded sailboat off the Bahamas back to their country, delivering them to Cap Haitïen.
(Photo: Ivan Alvarado, Reuters)
With schools in Haiti's capital city closed – and unlikely to open for several months – informal classes have begun springing up in the streets.
(Photo: Eitan Abramovich, Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
The lineups outside the Canadian embassy are getting longer each day. “I feel like they’ve seen too many people, and they’re starting to lack a certain compassion,” says a Montrealer in Port-au-Prince who is trying to get his extended family out of the country.
(Photo: Phil Carpenter, The Gazette)
In the low hills north of the capital, there are anonymous cemeteries of sand and stone, four or six or eight football fields wide, the absence of scrub brush often the sole hint they exist. Metal crosses are the only markings to note the remains of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters.
In Port-au-Prince, the living face soaring prices for such staples as rice, flour and cooking oil.
(Photo: Allen McInnis, The Gazette)
The food depot overseen by the Canadian military is running smoothly, 3,000 women and children waiting patiently in line. But it was not always thus. "We were like the front line of a football team," pushing like defensive backs against the masses of desperate Haitians, said Lt. Jean-François Legault of La Prairie on the South Shore.
(Photo: Allen McInnis, The Gazette)
In the poor district Cité Soleil, doctors are bracing for a second surge of dying and diseased patients as “the people who couldn’t get to us before are now starting to come in.” The U.S. military puts up 44 huge, two-family tents, in full view of a street that is well-used by media and foreign aid groups, and all but block out the sight of the squalor most live in behind. "They put them there for show," one Haitian observer said. "They're just there to hide the others.”
(Photo: Eduardo Munoz, Reuters)
Two weeks to the day after an earthquake leveled much of Port-au-Prince, an odd normalcy is returning to the streets, writes René Bruemmer. Outside one of the many tent cities is a handwritten sign: “La vie n’est pas finie.”
(Photo: Allen McInnis)