Al Jazeera Top 10 Of The Year
Haiti: A series of catastrophes
A year of chaos as poverty, natural disaster, a cholera epidemic and mass political unrest place Haiti at No. 3
Last Modified: 26 Dec 2010 09:25 GMT
An Earthquake, a cholera outbreak, botched elections, poverty, floods - Haiti suffered a traumatic 2010 [Reuters]

A devastating earthquake, botched relief efforts and a million people homeless. Riots and social unrest. Floods, a deadly cholera outbreak and a contested presidential election.

For Haitians, it has been a catastrophic year.

It all began on January 12 this year, when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake leveled most of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince and severely affected some of its neighboring towns.

It had a "devastating" impact on the city, according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

The natural disaster crippled the country leaving over 200,000 dead. But worse was yet to follow.

Before the earthquake Haiti was ranked among the 23 least developed countries on the UNs Human Development Index, the lowest ranking from all states in the Americas. 

The earthquake left more than a million people homeless.  Port-au-Prince's infrastructure was in tatters and efforts to reduce the rubble and rebuild the capital lagged. The situation was compounded by rising food prices, flooding, riots and a lack of organisation in dealing with the crisis aftermath.

Rene Preval, Haiti's prime minister, who in the aftermath stated that his country would need 10 years to rebuild itself - was publicly criticised for showing a lack of leadership at this critical time. Confusion reigned.

Then in October, a cholera outbreak brought more tragedy. More than 2000 people have already lost their lives, while 91 000 others have been treated for the disease.

Public anger was this time thrown at the UN amidst rumors that a camp used by Nepalese peacekeepers was the source of the outbreak.

Mass political upheaval following contested election results has further strained the country. During the November 28 election, thousands were unable to cast ballots, with voters turned away from polling stations.

The final results were expected to be announced this past week; however, verified allegations of fraud have delayed the process resulting in the launch of an independent investigation.

There is mass anger at government structures and during previous weeks protestors stormed through the capital, erecting barricades and setting fire to government headquarters.

The situation has calmed down slightly, but unfavourable election results could threaten to reignite the protests.

Haiti, and the series of natural and man-made catastrophes plaguing the country, has consistently gained media attention. We have ranked it as the third most important news story of the year.

Al Jazeera
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