Quake has rendered Haiti’s government powerless

Anna Mehler Paperny
Saturday, January 30, 2010 – Globe and Mail

PORT-AU-PRINCE

As more decisions need to be made about how to rebuild country, it’s becoming clear just how crippled and dependent Haiti’s government has become

Port-au-Prince — Improvised stages under mango trees on the outskirts of a ruined capital are never the most dignified of locations, as far as post-disaster government press conferences go.

But a disagreement over tents and a couple of awkward moments at the Haitian government’s daily press briefings last week highlighted what’s going to become, increasingly, a bone of contention as recovery efforts continue in the wake of the biggest quake to hit Haiti in centuries.

Tents, President René Préval told the assembled crowd, are the single thing the country needs most now – 200,000 of them, to be exact. And quickly.

But the man who spoke directly after him wasn’t so sure.

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