Somber gatherings mark 5th anniversary of Haiti earthquake
Updated: 2015-01-13 10:30
Haiti's President Michel Martelly addresses the audience during a memorial held for the victims of the 2010 earthquake in Titanyen, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince January 12, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
PORT-AU-PRINCE - On crowded streets where fragile concrete homes collapsed and anguished people searched through rubble for loved ones, Haitians paused to remember the devastating January 2010 earthquake that shattered much of the teeming capital and surrounding area.
At 4:53 p.m., the time five years ago when the 7.0 magnitude quake heaved the ground and upended the lives of millions, many Port-au-Prince residents shared a quiet moment to remember the dead before taking comfort in routines of everyday life.
"Five years ago, Haiti was in great pain. I pray for those who died and I thank you God for not taking the lives of my children," Edline Guervil said with her eyes shut tight during a family prayer at her laundry shop in a hard-hit neighborhood where many of her neighbors died.
Hundreds of people attended a Catholic Mass just after dawn at a new church built alongside the ruined National Cathedral, the towering remnants of broken walls still dominating the impoverished Bel Air neighborhood in downtown Port-au-Prince.
"This is the anniversary of the day I can never forget," Gladys Lambard, who lost her husband and sister in the quake, said as she walked into the church arm-in-arm with her 14-year-old daughter. "The sadness of that day marked me forever."
Yet, as the nation of 10 million marked the fifth anniversary of the quake, a political crisis between Haiti's president and parliament that has delayed legislative elections threatens to undermine the troubled country's political stability.