The turmoil in the Middle East might be front and center this week at the United Nations General Assembly but there are still other crisis that are drawing attention from people like actor and activist Sean Penn. Two and a half years after being ravaged by a magnitude 7 earthquake, the island nation of Haiti is still struggling to get back on its feet. Last month hurricane Isaac served as a painful reminder of Haiti’s troubles. Despite a flood of humanitarian aid from around the world, Haiti’s infrastructure remains weak, and roughly 400,000 people are still living in makeshift housing and tents. This morning, Haitian President Michel Martelly and Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe visit the set of “Starting Point” in their first-ever joint interview.
Martelly says during his campaign for president he promised the people of Haiti that he would get them out of the make-shift tents and he is still “moving.” “One week after the earthquake we had about 1.5 million people still under the tents and today that number is down to about 300,000 and it tells you how far we came and how well we’re doing.” Martelly says his government has a “very well elaborated program,” that rehabilitates destroyed homes or provides a years worth of money for the displaced so they can afford a better place to stay.
Lamothe says right now Haiti is better prepared because of their “very strong risk disaster and prevention management program.” Lamothe says public funds are being dropped into the public budget in order to stay prepared in the vent of another disaster. The Prime Minister adds that ten hurricane shelters are also being built in the country.
Martelly disputes claims that Haitians were not aware of Hurricane Isaac, saying that the people were aware but “they felt alone.” The Haitian president also says there are problems with the education system. “We are having a problem today,” says Martelly but “we were able to put more than a million kids in school.”