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Resident of the original Abri Pwovizwa Shelter Camp, which moved from a small church yard. (Deborah Baic/Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)
Resident of the original Abri Pwovizwa Shelter Camp, which moved from a small church yard. (Deborah Baic/Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)

Rebuilding a city: One year later Add to ...

The Big Mistake



City officials overseeing foreign-aid distribution created a system that was too easy for people to abuse. Ronald Andris, the city's deputy mayor, said government officials and aid organizations did a poor job of keeping track of which families were given tents after the earthquake and which had their houses repaired instead. People took advantage of the chaos and double-dipped: many have had their homes repaired and also keep tents in city camps.

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"They stayed because they felt the organizations would give them a second house," Mr. Andris said. "I can't fault them. For the longest time, they've been in a country that is ... dog eat dog. It's like a jungle."





The Bright Spot



Of all the construction that has gone on in Jacmel over the past year, only one earthquake-proof building has actually been built.



To the great pleasure of city spokesman Frantz Magellan Pierre Louis and many others, that building is a public school. Called École Nationale Jacob Martin Henriquez, the school is sponsored by the U.S. company Honeywell and the development group Operation U.S.A. When it is finished, the school will boast the city's first real computer lab and an athletic field (the old one is now a tent camp).



The school aside, Mr. Pierre Louis said the year was characterized by an extreme lack of progress.



"I'm impatient for the reconstruction effort to begin - the real reconstruction," he said. "We need roads. Buildings."





Lessons Learned



The solution for Haiti has to be Haitian, Jacmel officials say.



"People need to be active - nobody should have in their mind that an NGO can straighten out the situation here," said Michelet Divers, the city's dean of arts and culture. "They can help you with money, but they can't develop. The only [ones]that can develop the country [are]the government and the people."



Mr. Andris said Haitians have learned they need to respect each other.



"What really killed all those people who died in the earthquake was not the earthquake," he said. "It was the way we treated the country and our people long before."







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