Toothless laws, corruption, poverty and decades of poor city planning caused the devastation in Haiti, not the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the island nation square in the middle of it’s capital city two years ago, according to former governor general Michaelle Jean.
Jean released a sharply worded statement Thursday, as her native Haiti mourned its dead on the second anniversary of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake.
Jean, the UNESCO special envoy to Haiti, blamed “murderous negligence” for the scope of the disaster, writing that “the absence of laws and regulations to standardize construction works, for want of a provident government willing to use its authority to enforce standards, this is what made nearly 300,000 people dead.”
Jean’s letter comes on the heels of accusations by many watchdogs that the unprecedented international effort has been marred by corruption and disorganization.
Like many before her, Jean said the long-term rebuilding of the country can only come from Haitians themselves, with support from foreign governments who have pledged billions of dollars, but only delivered half of what they offered in the wake of the tragedy.
“I believe in all efforts combined to promote conditions conducive to job creation, to the rapid growth of small and medium-sized businesses capable of bringing new opportunities for better living conditions among all Haitians, men and women.”
For its part, the government of Canada this week pledged $20 million to help house 20,000 people still living in a downtown Port-au-Prince tent-camp, train dozens of mostly female entrepreneurs, create 2,000 short-term construction jobs and further train 240 certified construction workers.