Diplomatic visit

Haiti's president learns from Chilean earthquake reconstruction

The Haitian leader toured the O’Higgins region to share ideas and learn from Chile's experience as he seeks to rebuild his own country.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011  
The Haitian president visited quake-damaged Chilean schools. (Photo: Chile Ayuda a Chile/Flickr) The Haitian president visited quake-damaged Chilean schools. (Photo: Chile Ayuda a Chile/Flickr)

President Michel Martelly of Haiti was in Chile last week to examine the reconstruction efforts following the powerful earthquake that rocked the South American country on February 27, 2010.

President Martelly visited housing projects in Chile's O’Higgins region, south of Santiago, with Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno and Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Rodrigo Pérez Mackenna. The Haitian leader, who was elected just three months ago, is now faced with the difficult challenge of rebuilding his nation following the devastating January 2010 earthquake in the Caribbean island nation. .

Chile is helping Haiti and that is why we have decided to come here - to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries and to learn from Chile's experiences in a way that will help with the development of my country,” President Martelly told local media.

The presidential tour included a stop at the Elías Sánchez de Champa School, a beneficiary of the Schools for Chile project created by the television charity program Fundación Teletón. The initiative has contributed to the reconstruction of more than 360 elementary schools, high schools and kindergartens affected by the February 2010 quake.

President Martelly also stopped by the damaged Cordillera and Los Parques social housing estates, home to more than 2,000 families, before visiting the San Antonio Emergency Village in the city of Rancagua, where hundreds of displaced families are currently living.

The last destination on the Haitian President's agenda was the construction site for the Don Mateo and Compañía Real housing projects which will provide close to 800 new homes for quake-affected families.

Foreign Minister Moreno said Chile was glad to be providing assistance to Haiti at this difficult point in its history.

“We wanted to show [President Martelly] what we are doing, how we are resolving our problems and how we have been able to move on so that he can see which measures he can apply in Haiti,” he said in an official statement following the presidential visit.