Haitians in Canada are commemorating 10 years since the deadly earthquake that devastated the country

A man carries his bicycle through the debris of a collapsed house in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Friday January 15, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Haitian Canadians are marking the 10-year anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake that devastated Haiti on this day in 2010.

A ceremony will be held in Montreal Sunday afternoon to commemorate the more than 200,000 people who died and 300,000 who were injured in the magnitude 7.0 quake.

"Those people had names and they were parents, children and they all just were burried rapidly with no funeral," said Maison d'Haiti director Director Marjorie Villefranche, "It's very important to remember each of them as human beings who died this day."

The Maison d'Haiti community organization, which is leading the ceremony, has been holding a weekend of discussions, presentations and artistic performances to mark the anniversary of the tragedy.

Villefranche says its important to remember the dead but also the living, who continue to live with the aftermath of the disaster.

"Every time you speak about the earthquake, people start to cry; 10 years after," she said. "That means it's a very big trauma, and it's not over yet. We are not over yet with that trauma."

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and International Development Minister Karina Gould have issued a statement paying tribute to the bravery and resilience of the Haitian people, and to those around the world who contributed to reconstruction.

Ten years ago, a devastating earthquake in Haiti took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, and forever changed the lives of many more. Today, we remember the victims of this tragedy and offer our condolences to all those who lost loved ones. https://t.co/B6lv9lmQ6Z

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 12, 2020

They also highlighted the many Haitians who moved to Canada following the earthquake and who are leaving their mark on the country.

"As hard as rebuilding is, real lasting change is even harder to achieve," the statement read.

"Yet those who remained and lived through the earthquake and reconstruction and who, today, still work hard for a better and peaceful Haiti remind us of what is good and show us that there is hope."

There were over 165,000 people of Haitian origin living in Canada according to the 2016 census, the vast majority of them in Quebec.

Around $10 billion in foreign aid has gone to Haiti to help in reconstruction, but many have criticized the lack of progress in rebuilding housing projects or other infrastructure.

With reporting from The Canadian Press.


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