By Anastasia Moloney
BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, killed more than 200,000 people, leveled much of the capital Port-au-Prince and left 1.5 million Haitians homeless.
As Haitians commemorate the sixth anniversary of the disaster, long-standing political instability and delayed presidential elections continue to undermine reconstruction efforts in the poorest nation in the western hemisphere.
"The path to recovery and long-term development is not an easy one," United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement this week.
"Many Haitians continue to face multiple challenges, including displacement, food insecurity and lack of access to clean water and sanitation," he said.
Below are some facts about what has changed six years after the disaster and the key challenges ahead.* Haiti has struggled to establish democratic rule afterdecades of dictatorship, military coups and election fraud. Adecision last month by Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council topostpone a presidential run-off election between ruling partycandidate Jovenel Moïse and former government executive JudeCélestin amid accusations of fraud and irregularitiesexacerbates slow construction efforts. * While most of the rubble has been cleared, many governmentbuildings have yet to be rebuilt. Haiti's parliament is stilloperating in temporary buildings, while the presidential palaceand cathedral remain in ruins. * The sprawling tent cities where hundreds of thousands ofHaitians made homeless by the quake were forced to live in havelargely disappeared. But 45,000 Haitians still live in tents andmake-shift shelters often assembled from bed sheets, tarpaulin,wooden sticks and string, with little or no access to water andsanitation. * An acute shortage of housing continues to be a keychallenge and few new permanent brick homes have been builtsince the quake. * The government estimates Haiti needs up to 500,000 newhomes to make up for the pre-earthquake housing shortage, thosehomes destroyed during the disaster, and demand resulting fromurban growth in the densely populated capital. * A new National Emergency Operations Centre was built afterthe quake to coordinate future disaster response and numerousmaps have been produced highlighting those communities most atrisk from flooding and other disasters, along with aconstruction code to improve construction and ensure buildingscan withstand future tremors. But experts say the 2010 code isnot being enforced and thousands of Haitians in the capitalcontinue to live in informal settlements perched on hilltops. * Even before the quake, land ownership and unclear landtenure was a thorny issue in Haiti, contributing to violence andpoverty in a country where land is concentrated in the hands ofa few big landowners. An incomplete national land registrysystem and unclear land tenure contributes to delays in thebuilding of new homes. * While the government has pledged to make free anduniversal education a priority, primary school enrollment isstill low - at 75 percent. On average, a Haitian aged 25 yearsor older has less than 5 years of schooling. * With half of Haiti's adult population illiterate, raisingliteracy rates remains a key priority. Roughly 75 percent ofchildren at the end of first grade and nearly half of studentsfinishing second grade could not read a single word, accordingto an assessment by the U.S. Agency for InternationalDevelopment (USAID).
Sources: International Organization for Migration (IOM), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)
(Reporting By Anastasia Moloney, Editing by Astrid Zweynert)