In the days immediately following the 12 January, the main priority was to remove the victims’ bodies as quickly as possible to avoid the risk of epidemies. Common graves were dug and bodies were incinerated. No identification was possible, which today poses a serious legislative problem. In fact, in Haiti a death certificate is not official unless the victim is identified. Therefore a high number of victims are today considered as missing and ten years are needed for the certificate to be finally sent to the family. For more information on this topic, we invite you to read an article (in French) which appeared on the Nouvelliste: “Are these dead, legally dead?”

Besides this problem, from a more human point of view, many Haitians struggle to get over their grief. Several bodies are still under what is left of the buildings, over six months after the earthquake. This is the reason why the “Memorial for the victims of 12 January” Committe was created. Its members propose the construction of a national monument, so that all Haitians can come to a single place to mourn their lost ones.

Marie-Louise Augustin, president of the Committee, has explained during a meeting to which some twenty members, representatives of different sectors of the society, participated, that several local initiatives have been started, but these would not allow a common gathering of the population.

According to her, a national monument is essential. It will also be a reminder to the next generations that the earth quakes and precautionary measures need to be taken. She likes to repeat that traditional roofing of Haitian houses was typically light, in most cases made of corrugated metal sheets. But then people built concrete structures to avoid the problems caused by winds and hurricanes, without taking into account the seismic risk. This memorial will ensure that memory is kept for as long as possible in the future.

Here below you can hear some of the views shared in the meeting:


Why a National Memorial?

Philippe Dodard, a renowned Haitian painter, is advisor to the First Lady (Mme Préval). He attended this meeting and he shared his thoughts about the importance of such a landmark for the country:


Philippe Dodard on the value of the Memorial
The “Memorial of the victims of 12 January” Committee is driving the government, the population and international aid organizations to work together towards the building of the monument, which in their view will allow to turn the page without forgetting!

Musique (Interview) by Antoine Chevallier (Postillon) => Myspace