PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti The mans body lay face down, his white dress shirt shining like wax in the sun, as he was unearthed in the ruins of a Port-au-Prince restaurant a year after the earthquake.
The bodies still being found in the rubble are a sign of how far Haiti must go to recover from a disaster that left the capital in ruins and is estimated to have killed more than 230,000 people.
In the days after the Jan. 12, 2010, disaster, volunteers and hundreds of aid groups flocked in with food, water and first aid that saved countless lives. But the effort to rebuild has been dwarfed by the extent of the need and a lack of leadership both in Haiti and internationally.
President Rene Preval did not speak publicly for days after the quake, and many observers have criticized him for not spearheading a coherent reconstruction effort or making the hard policy decisions needed to rebuild.
Still, advocacy groups also blame the Haitian governments weakness on an international community that is not keeping its pledge of support.
The international community has not done enough to support good governance and effective leadership in Haiti, aid group Oxfam said in a recent report. Aid agencies continue to bypass local and national authorities in the delivery of assistance, while donors are not coordinating their actions or adequately consulting the Haitian people.
Street markets were up and running soon after the quake, and Port-au-Princes traffic is worse than ever. On Tuesday, Preval, his wife and other officials laid flowers at symbolic black crosses marking a mass grave outside the capital where hundreds of thousands of earthquake victims are buried.
But from the barren hillside, the destruction is clearly visible. The slogan build back better, touted by former President Bill Clinton and others, remains an unfulfilled promise.
Less than 5 percent of the debris has been cleared, leaving enough to fill dump trucks parked bumper to bumper halfway around the world. In the broken building where the dead man was discovered last week, workers hired to clear rubble by hand found the remains of two other people.
About 1 million people remain homeless, and neighborhood-sized camps look like permanent shantytowns on the fields and plazas of the capital. A cholera epidemic that erupted outside the quake zone has killed more than 3,600 people, and an electoral crisis between Prevals ruling party and its rivals threatens to break an increasingly fragile political stability.
Ericq Pierre, Haitis representative to the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, said the problem is that, at a certain point, the international community gave the impression they could solve the problem quickly. ... I think there was an excess of optimism.
In a statement before todays anniversary, President Barack Obama praised humanitarian efforts to provide people with food, water and health care but said progress in reconstruction has been too slow.
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, Obama said.
He said Haiti can and must lead the way but added: The international community must now fulfill the pledges it has made to ensure a strong and sustained long-term effort.
The slow progress starts with the omnipresent rubble.
The U.S.-based RAND organization said donors and the Haitian government are responsible for more not being cleared. Haitian workers were not supplied with boots, gloves and hard hats while heavy equipment has been blocked by customs officials at the border, the report said. The government also has not designated sufficient dumping space.
Unless rubble is cleared expeditiously, hundreds of thousands of Haitians will still be in tent camps during the 2011 hurricane season, which runs from June through November, the report said.
Construction of new housing barely has begun. The core underlying issue of Haitis broken land ownership system, with multiple claims to the same plot of land, has not been addressed. Without sorting out land ownership, there is nowhere to build.
Internationally financed inspectors have certified that some houses are safe for residents to return to, but few have. Many are merely moving their shacks closer to where they used to live because they dont want to risk another earthquake in their damaged homes.
Meanwhile, only 15 percent of needed temporary shelters have been built, with few permanent water and sanitation facilities.
Owners of small construction material businesses, such as Justin Premier, 43, should be raking in money. But most people in his neighborhood are just buying plywood to reinforce their tarps.
Its going to take a lot of time for us to come back where we were before, Premier said.