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South Florida Haitian Community Marks 12 Years Since Devastating Earthquake Struck Island Nation

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - On Wednesday, the South Florida Haitian community is marking 12 years since a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, killing tens of thousands and causing damage in the billions of dollars.

The catastrophic magnitude 7.0 in the Richter scale struck Haiti at around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, 12 January 2010. It killed over 200,000 people, left thousands more injured, and caused over $7.5 billion in damages.

The quake also destroyed an estimated 100,000 homes across the capital and southern Haiti.

A memorial event organized by the Family Action Network Movement is planned for Wednesday at 7 p.m. and it will be held via Zoom.

Event organizers said the event would be attended by earthquake survivors, elected officials, community leaders, and artists who will share inspiring stories of "resilience, strength, and courage" through songs and prayers while calling for change in Haiti.

Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of Family Action Network Movement (FANM) said, "We are gathering in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Haiti to remember one of the worst crises in modern history and to honor those who were killed and wounded as a result. We encourage all to join us to pray for the people of Haiti as they continue to face serious problems including a crippling infrastructure and grave human rights abuses. Let us come together to remember, reflect, and pray for a strong, just, and thriving Haiti!"

Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the region, has yet to recover from the catastrophe.

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson issued the following statement on the anniversary of the earthquake:

"This year we mark 12 years since a massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti led to the loss of more than 250,000 lives and caused more than $8 billion in damages. As the congressional representative of one of the largest Haitian American communities in the United States, I have heard from constituents harrowing accounts of the devastation the hurricane left behind and witnessed firsthand the sorrow and struggle that the people of Haiti endured during multiple visits to the island nation.

"In the immediate aftermath, an outpouring of support flowed to Haiti from across the U.S. and around the globe to aid survivors and rebuild the nation. Still, 12 years later, much more needs to be done if Haiti is to ever rebuild and become self-sufficient.

"I honor the memories of the lives lost in 2012 and pay homage to the survivors. I also join my constituents in praying for Haiti to heal from systemic divisiveness and social inequalities. On this day of remembrance, let us look to a bright future for Haiti that includes political and institutional stability, democratic governance, and sustainable development."

After the earthquake, President Obama designated Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to protect Haitian nationals in the U.S. and allow them to work to provide remittances to their homeland, and to help Haiti recover.

TPS for Haiti was terminated during the Trump administration.

In May of 2021, President Joe Biden's Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced a new Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti for 18 months.

Click here to learn more about TPS designation for Haitians living in the US.

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