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Haitians in Bahamas remember earthquake

As Haitians in Port-au-Prince continue to put the pieces of their lives back together one year after a 7.0 earthquake struck, their families and friends in The Bahamas yesterday commemorated the tragic day with several church services.

Pastor Nelson Pierre, who leads the mostly Haitian congregation at the Metropolitan Church of the Nazarene, said Haitians in The Bahamas are praying for their fellow citizens.

“We are getting together to pray especially for the victims who are still unable to help themselves in Haiti,”he said at his church on East Street.

“I also send a message to the Haitian people to live a life of obedience to God. God has great things to do with the Haitian people, but they have to turn to God and do God’s will.”

The Haitian government has reported that three million people were affected by the earthquake that caused buildings to crumble and streets to split.

Julie Georgess Smith, who is the office manager at the Bahamian Haitian Center, said one year later not much has changed.

“It’s still the same. There have been no changes. I guess the things people thought would take six or eight months to fix after the[earthquake], are still not done,”she said.

“They’re still trying to clean up, people are still living under the tents, people who used to, still can’t go to work or have no place of employment.”

Haitian authorities have estimated that 316,000 people were killed by the earthquake.

Lucien Louidor’s two brothers were among them. Through an interpreter he said the loss was painful.

“He said it’s very hard for him because it’s a year later. It’s emotional for Haitians in The Bahamas,”said Smith, who interpreted for him yesterday.

“He said he called his mother this morning to see how she was doing and he said all his mother was doing was crying on the phone.”

Shella Elie returned last week from a visit to Port-au-Prince where she spent the new year’s holiday with her family. She said although there was a celebratory mood in the city, many were still haunted by the events of January 12, 2010.

“[The year]passed so fast and today we feel depressed and very sad[when]we remember our loved ones lost last year,”she said.

“We try to be like brothers and sisters[to cope]. If we have bread we share it. That’s how we survive. For me that’s the good part[of remembering).”

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