(NEW YORK) — Exactly two years ago on Thursday, a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, leaving an estimated 316,000 people dead, another 300,000 injured and one million homeless.
Today, the country has made considerable progress in its recovery efforts, though much work still remains.
“People have access to clean drinkable water that they did not have prior to the earthquake, the schools are open, there are community sanitation facilities; so even in the poorest of neighborhoods that I was walking through today, you do see progress,” David Meltzer, who’s in Haiti with the Red Cross, tells ABC News.
Meltzer says more than anything else the Haitian people are in need of homes.
“Right now our focus of course is trying to get the remaining hundreds of thousands of people out from under those tarps and tents and into more permanent housing,” he says. Haitians erected tent cities across the country after the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake left them homeless.
Many neighborhoods are also still blocked off by rubble, further delaying rebuilding.
“The rubble has to be broken up with a pick ax and then carried down the hill with a wheel barrow. If you can imagine what that’s like, you start seeing why it takes so long,” Meltzer explains.
Yet, he notes that, “the good really does outweigh the negative,” and reminds us that “recovery does take time.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN
Artemis Moshtaghian and Lawrence Crook III, CNN Newswire