MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida’s Haitian community is marking the four year anniversary of a devastating earthquake in their homeland.
The magnitude 7.o earthquake that struck on Jan. 12, 2010, killed more than 300,000 people and devastated the Caribbean country’s capital of Port-au-Prince.
Marleine Bastien with the advocacy group Haitian Women of Miami said Sunday is a day to reinvigorate efforts to help the quake’s survivors.
Bastien said the situation in Haiti is still precarious four years after the earthquake. Hundreds of thousands are still living under tents where they are constantly threatened with forced evictions, survivors continue to die from the imported cholera epidemic outbreak, jobs are scarce and hope dwindle pressuring desperate attempts to flee with often deadly results.
Haitian-American community advocates want the U.S. to fast-track visas for Haitians waiting to join relatives here. More than 100,000 Haitians have successfully petitioned to join relatives here, but it can take years for visas to be issued. The advocates want Homeland Security officials to create a program similar to one created in 2007 for Cubans approved to join relatives in the U.S.
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