Haiti Struggles to Rebuild after the Earthquake

Haiti hasn't changed much from three months ago. It is still gasping for air under the weight of pancaked buildings and blocks of concrete on top of already crushing poverty.

CBS News Anchor Katie Couric reports the city of Port-au-Prince is much livelier today. Vendors sell their wares on the traffic-choked streets. Everywhere you look, the buildings are in various states of destruction.

Eduardo Almeida is the head of the Inter American Development bank in Haiti -which is playing a major role in rebuilding efforts.

At the Presidential Palace, Couric asked, "why is it still standing, dilapidated, but still standing?"

"This disaster was one of the largest in the world," Almeida said. "Everybody's trying to reorganize, restructure it, in order to respond accordingly."

In Port-au-Prince infrastructure is an oxymoron. Buildings lie in ruins and rubble is everywhere. Recently, President Preval said it will take at least three years to remove all the debris and only after that he said, can Haiti begin to rebuild.

Katie Couric in Haiti Photos
Haiti's Long Road Back

Almeida says one major problem is that there is no infrastructure in place to deal with the crumbling infrastructure.

"We don't have companies here. We don't have equipment here," he said.

Couric met Bob Berkebile when she arrived in Haiti. Berkebile's an architect involved the effort to rebuild New Orleans. He blames inadequate building codes for the scope of the devastation in Haiti.

"The critical issue now is get appropriate codes to be created and embraced by the government before all the reconstruction begins," Berkebile said.

There are places where the sound of hammers and drills penetrate the hot Caribbean air.

There are 47 temporary schools being built in a matter of weeks, so 65,000 children can continue their educations. The buildings will be replaced by permanent structures in two years. It is a bittersweet job. Two hundred high school students were killed on one site.

There are other pockets of hope, rising from the ashes. In the town of Leogane, an hour south of Port-au-Prince, a Haitian construction crew is building a new church around the surviving altar.

Further south, in the town of Grand Goave, young volunteers from an organization called "A Roof for my Country" are building what they call temporary homes.

But for Iloria, who has always lived in a shack - it's a dream house.

"This house is better than another shelter so when the rain starts and the wind comes, it's better to be in these kinds of houses," she said.
Ideally, planners would like more people to move into towns outside of Port-au-Prince - built for 500,000 - they're now bursting at the seams with 3 million.

They hope that tents on the outskirts of the city will encourage a mass exodus so rebuilding will be easier. The concept is called "decentralization." But getting people to move will require incentives: namely jobs - through tourism, building more garment and textile factories, and increasing agricultural exports like mangos - a plentiful but largely wasted resource.

While parts of Haiti resemble ancient Greece, rebuilding it will take a Herculean effort. This isn't just about rebuilding structures - it's about restructuring an entire society.

"Do you ever feel just, do you ever get demoralized and feel hopeless about this huge endeavor?" Couric asked.

"We don't have time to feel like depressed and disappointed," Eduardo Almeida replied. "We have to understand that each one of us, and each one of our institutions, are here to put a stone in the wall that's going to be built."

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