When a savage earthquake nearly destroyed the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince in January, the world responded at once. Food, medicine, makeshift shelter, and brigades of aid workers arrived within days to begin the massive task of rescue and recovery.
Fortunately, Haiti has avoided the worst outcomes many feared. Famine, deadly epidemics, widespread disorder and worsening conditions due to perennial tropical storms haven't happened. That's a tribute to the many volunteers, governments and organizations that labored to give the people of Haiti a helping hand, with an assist from Mother Nature.
Yet a visitor to Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas would be surprised -- and dismayed -- to see mountains of rubble everywhere, nine months after the quake. Not until recent days, according to a report in The New York Times, has the government begun the essential task of removing debris.
It's a small start -- a contract worth up to $13.5 million out of a debris removal program expected to cost $1.2 billion -- but hopefully a sign that Haitian authorities and their international backers finally realize the importance of the clean-up job.
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