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Haitians gather to remember the dead on earthquake's fifth anniversary

Monday, January 12, 2015 - 02:27

Memorials are held across the Caribbean nation of Haiti where five years ago a devastating earthquake killed hundreds of thousands. Nathan Frandino reports.

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Under a rising sun in Haiti, a cathedral bears the scars of a violent disaster. While today streets are calm, five years ago it was a different story. Chaos consumed the capital Port-au-Prince this very day, January 12, 2010. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake decimated the country, killing more than 200,000 people. Buildings crumbled and collapsed, leaving 1.5 million people homeless. And survivors ran screaming through dusty, debris-strewn streets. On Monday morning, Haitians filled the pews of a transitional cathedral for a memorial mass. The mass was symbolic for those in attendance. (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) LUBIN JOSIANE, RESIDENT SAYING: "That day represents so many things for me even though I did not lose members of my family but I lost many friends and neighbors. I have been crying since yesterday for a good friend of mine who fell in that instance (during the earthquake) and many people and families that I also knew. It is a day that no one will be able to forget." On the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, more remembrance. President Michel Martelly led a ceremony in Titanyen, the site of a mass burial ground for quake victims. (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) PRESIDENT OF HAITI, MICHEL MARTELLY, SAYING: "For me and many of my compatriots, today is a day of sadness, a day of mourning, it's a day where many remember what happened, people who died, people who were left disabled, 35 seconds and everyone's life changed." With prayer and song, they mourned. And spoke of the earthquake's impact. (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) WILLMARC JEAN, EARTHQUAKE SURVIVOR WHO LOST LEG, SAYING: "January 12 changed my life, I never thought that I would live with a disability. After I lost my leg I felt that I had lost my courage, I thought that my life had ended, but I was wrong, as you can see, a person with a disability is a person like anyone else." As the anniversary passes, Haiti remains on the brink of another tumultuous period. Three years of delays for a round of legislative elections have led to mass demonstrations and a political impasse that could crumble the government.

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Haitians gather to remember the dead on earthquake's fifth anniversary

Monday, January 12, 2015 - 02:27