PORT-AU-PRINCE – The Haitian government held a memorial on Friday for the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere on Jan. 12, 2010.
The magnitude-7.0 temblor and subsequent aftershocks left more than 300,000 dead, nearly as many injured and some 1.5 million people homeless, while destroying large swathes of Port-au-Prince.
President Jovenel Moise and Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant paid tribute to the dead in a ceremony at the capital’s St. Christophe cemetery, where a monument has been erected in their honor.
“It is our duty to remember our brothers and sisters who left us prematurely,” Moise said after placing a wreath at the foot of the monument.
At the same time, he stressed the need “not to repeat the mistakes of the past” as Haiti continues the task of rebuilding.
Many quake victims died as a result of slipshod construction.
“We must reflect and improve the way we do things going forward,” the Haitian president said.
During the memorial, Moise laid the cornerstone of a new presidential palace to replace the structure leveled by the earthquake.