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Jill Biden to mark one year of Haiti earthquake with a mass in DC

Jill Biden will attend a mass for victims of the earthquake in Haiti Wednesday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The Mass will be celebrated by the Rev. Donald Cardinal Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, and is being organized by DC's Haitian-American community and the Embassy of Haiti.

President Barack Obama -- who will be in Tucson Wednesday for a memorial for the victims of Saturday's shooting -- pledged in a statement that the U.S. would be an "enduring partner" in Haiti. Neither he nor Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton -- who issued a statement while traveling overseas -- mentioned the chaos over the country's disputed presidential election that threatens to overshadow the anniversary.

But Obama acknowledged much needs to be done: Over the past year, countless lives have been saved and many Haitians affected by the earthquake now have better access to food, water and health care than they did before the disaster," he said. "Still, too much rubble continues to clog the streets, too many people are still living in tents, and for so many Haitians progress has not come fast enough. As we have said all along, helping the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere recover from one of the worst natural disasters ever to strike our hemisphere will take years, if not decades."

Full remarks after the jump.

"As we mark one year since the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, we honor the memory of the quarter of a million Haitians who were lost, along with more than one hundred Americans, many United Nations personnel and citizens from dozens of nations. We recall how Americans, civilian and military, joined with people from around the world in one of the largest humanitarian efforts ever attempted. And we continue to be inspired by the Haitian people, and our vibrant Haitian American community, who have faced unimaginable loss with extraordinary courage and faith.

"Since the first moments of the disaster, the United States has helped to rally international support for Haiti’s recovery and reconstruction and respond to new challenges, such as the outbreak of cholera and Hurricane Tomas. This global effort, led by the Haitian government, continues today and has been matched by the tremendous compassion of the American people, who in difficult economic times have given generously to help.

"Over the past year, countless lives have been saved and many Haitians affected by the earthquake now have better access to food, water and health care than they did before the disaster. Still, too much rubble continues to clog the streets, too many people are still living in tents, and for so many Haitians progress has not come fast enough. As we have said all along, helping the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere recover from one of the worst natural disasters ever to strike our hemisphere will take years, if not decades.

"So on this day when our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people, my message is the same as it was last year. Haiti can and must lead the way, with a strong vision for its future. The international community must now fulfill the pledges it has made to ensure a strong and sustained long-term effort.  And as they forge ahead with the hard work of rebuilding their proud country, the people of Haiti will continue to have an enduring partner in the United States."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton: "One year ago, on January 12, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the nation of Haiti and took the lives of more than 200,000 people. Hundreds of thousands more were injured and more than a million were left homeless. Buildings crumbled and recent economic growth was erased in a matter of seconds. As we mark this day, let us pause to remember all those who lost their lives or loved ones in this tragedy. Here at the State Department and USAID, we also honor the service and sacrifice of our friends and colleagues who were lost and those who have tenaciously persevered, selflessly dedicating themselves to rebuilding Haiti.

"In the past year more than 140 nations came together to support Haiti in its time of need. That spirit of cooperation must continue if we are to help Haiti overcome this tragedy. The resilience of the people of Haiti continues to inspire us. Their determination has set an example for all of us to follow and serves as a beacon of hope for the country’s future. The United States continues to work with the Haitian people along with our international partners and non-governmental organizations to help catalyze Haiti’s renewal.

"Let us all rededicate ourselves to partnering with the people of Haiti in their pursuit to build back anew."

 

 

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