Washington, DC - Secretary of State John Kerry: "Haiti and the world mark on Monday five years since the devastating 2010 earthquake hit Haiti. On January 12, 2010, our close friend and neighbor suffered an unimaginable blow: The earthquake left an estimated 230,000 dead, 300,000 injured, countless homes and businesses leveled, and 1.5 million Haitians homeless. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their loved ones they left behind.
"After the tremors stopped, Haitians worked tirelessly to rebuild their nation. Their progress is remarkable. Rubble no longer impedes reconstruction. The number of displaced persons in tent camps is down more than 90 percent. Basic health indicators are improving. More children are attending primary schools. New jobs are created every day. And Haiti has achieved positive economic growth for each of the past four years.
"I’m proud that millions of Americans generously donated to Haiti’s relief, including Len and Cherylann Gengel – two Massachusetts natives who opened an orphanage in Grand Goave in honor of their daughter, Britney, who died in the earthquake. The United States Government, too, has worked closely with the Haitian government, NGOs, and the Haitian people to help make a difference. Over the past five years, the United States has made available $4 billion for relief and longer-term reconstruction efforts. That support ensured 70,000 Haitian farmers have higher crop yields and incomes; 328,000 displaced Haitians found alternative shelter; nearly half of all Haitians can access basic health services at a U.S. supported facility; 3,300 new police officers were trained and commissioned; and some 5,000 jobs to date were created at the Caracol Industrial Park. Despite this progress, much remains to be done. The years ahead will demand sustained international support for Haiti’s development.
"But, first and foremost, Haiti’s success requires greater political stability. As the world reflects on this somber anniversary, I urge Haiti’s leaders to do what is right for their people’s future. Only with increased stability, including the holding of free and fair elections, now overdue, can Haiti ensure the rights of its citizens and attract the foreign investment needed to create economic opportunity and reduce poverty. The example of President Martelly, who is working hard to make real compromises, is one to emulate. I call on Haiti’s leaders to settle outstanding issues blocking the organization of parliamentary elections as soon as possible.
"Today – just as we did five years ago – the United States stands firmly with the Haitian people in their efforts to forge a more prosperous, secure, and democratic future. Together we can achieve these goals, because, in the words of Haiti’s motto and coat of arms, l’union fait la force – unity makes strength."