One year after the tragedy of 12 January, 2010, which plunged Haiti into mourning, I would like, on behalf of the French government, to send Haiti a message of friendship, sympathy and solidarity.
The Haitian people have experienced one of the worst ordeals in their history. They faced it with courage and self-sacrifice. On this day of national mourning, we would like to say to them: your determination commands admiration and respect. France stands resolutely and permanently alongside you in this ordeal.
This was, for France, one of the most significant humanitarian interventions in recent years: airlifts which continued for two months, a field hospital, a hospital ship also sent to care for the injured, and about 1,000 sécurité civile [emergency services], medical and engineering personnel to help the people.
The commitments made by President Sarkozy during his visit on 17 February 2010 have been honoured.
Haiti’s debt has been cancelled. Budgetary support has been provided.
Sécurité civile equipment has been delivered.
Young French people have also played a role, with young volunteers from Martinique, Guadeloupe and metropolitan France on adapted military service and Service Civique [volunteer corps]. With their help, it has been possible to restore dozens of schools, orphanages and health centres.
Thanks to France’s support, Port-au-Prince’s main hospital has been able to continue receiving the sick. It will be rebuilt through a Franco-American partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health.
Two working-class neighbourhoods in Port-au-Prince are currently being renovated.
In order to prepare for the future, almost 500 Haitian students – future judges and civil servants – have been admitted into our institutions.
Our businesses are mobilizing their efforts and contributing to the revival of economic activity, without which there can be no prospect of development or progress.
All of these reconstruction efforts are part of a long-term strategy focusing on the coordination of efforts. France will continue to play her part in Haiti alongside the other donor countries and international organizations, under the guidelines established by the Haitians themselves and the Haitian authorities.
France will have provided a total of €326 million over two years – in 2010 and 2011 – in support of Haiti’s reconstruction, which represents an unprecedented effort.
I hope that 2011 will be the year of renewal, hope and reconstruction./.