Today marks six months since the devastating 7.0 earthquake hit Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010. More than 230,000 people lost their lives, and hundreds of thousands suffered injuries. Buildings crumbled, ports were paralyzed, and economic growth reversed. Thirty-five seconds changed the face of the country.
Immediately, the international community responded. The largest urban food distribution alleviated hunger, and building materials were delivered to more than 1.5 million Haitians.
Overall, the Haitian government and international donor community have worked together and accomplished a great deal so far in the rebuilding. Haitian people's will, spirit, and determination have provided the backbone for their nation during this devastating period. Day in and day out since January 12, we have seen examples of the incredible resiliency of the people of Haiti. Their strength provides the impetus to develop Haiti into a country that meets its people's aspirations. The United States remains a proud and engaged partner, working alongside the international donor community, in the rebuilding of Haiti.
More than 140 nations were involved in the immediate humanitarian response effort, many from Latin America and the Caribbean. The strength and support the region provided, and continues to provide, Haiti has been invaluable and will be a vital part of realizing a better tomorrow. For example, Chile sent veteran search and rescue teams that were part of the international effort resulting in more than 130 lives saved. The Dominican Republic supported the people of Haiti, by providing overland routes of emergency humanitarian supplies, but also the evacuation of American citizens. Brazil was the first donor to commit funding to the Haiti Reconstruction Fund, a multi-donor trust fund. Together our goal is to maintain forward momentum in Haiti, rebuilding critical areas and reshaping the population centers of the country as envisioned by the Government of Haiti. To accomplish this goal, it is essential that the international donor community remain committed and that we closely coordinate our efforts.
On this six-month anniversary of the earthquake, we pause to remember and honor those who lost their lives, and the loved ones they left behind. The people of Haiti still need the help of the international community.
We must continue working to help Haiti realize its vision for its future.
The United States will remain a committed friend and partner to our neighbor, Haiti. As President Obama said, “America's commitment to Haiti's recovery and reconstruction must endure and will endure. This pledge is one that I made at the beginning of this crisis and I intend for America to keep our pledge. America will be your partner in the recovery and reconstruction effort.”
I encourage you to watch a video that the State Department and USAID, in collaboration with other partners, created illustrating the struggle and rebuilding of Haiti.