By Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.
(CNN) - Although Haiti's capital is in ruins and hundreds of thousands are homeless, a former prime minister of the earthquake-ravaged country vowed "this country is not doomed."
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour in Haiti, former Haiti Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis said there must be hope for her country, especially as the world considers a massive recovery program.
"Port-au-Prince is destroyed, the few cities around Port-au-Prince are destroyed, but the whole country is not destroyed. It's important that life goes on in the other parts of the country," Pierre-Louis said.
Haiti needs to be the "co-pilot," along with the international community, of a major reconstruction effort after the devastating earthquake that leveled large parts of the country exactly two weeks ago, she said.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/25/christianehaitiun.jpg caption="Christiane at the rubble of the U.N.'s Headquarters in Haiti"]
By Christiane Amanpour
In Haiti, the emergency phase is still in full swing. Yes, many official rescue efforts have been called off. But the truth is that international rescue crews are still being called out when there's a clue that somebody might be alive under the rubble.
Because of the miraculous rescue of a 24-year-old man on Saturday night, they are not giving up. Hope does diminish with each day, but the rescues haven’t ceased. So they may even pull more people out. I think that gives tremendous hope not just to people here in Port-au-Prince but to people everywhere.
This Sunday, we saw Mass and religious services here and around the country. This is a powerfully religious country. So many Haitians were not just mourning the family and friends they lost, but giving thanks for the survival of friends who made it through and for the resilience and resolve they have shown throughout this incredible crisis.
And now, at last, the aid pipeline is gradually widening and more food and water is gradually getting to people who need it. It’s still not perfect, but it is slowly becoming a much more organized distribution.
We’ve seen signs of rebuilding that will allow Haitians to return to their homes. And the U.N. is conscious that it needs to help put people to work. That will help build a sense of security here - just paying people, so they can keep body and soul together.
One of the U.N.’s plans is to pay people $3 a day to start collecting rubble and get it out of the streets. That might not sound like much, but it's more than the $1 a day most people exist on here in Haiti. Now they can start to get the streets back to normal.
And at the same time, emergency officials want people to get out of the capital city to go see family around the country, whose communities might have withstood the earthquake better than this ravaged city has. We're seeing people leaving town by whatever means they can find – on busses, bicycles, motorbikes, and in cars.
It’s important to know that not all of Haiti has been destroyed. The greatest damage has occurred in this capital city and parts of Jacmel – a cultural capital on the southern Caribbean coast. Leogane, another city close to Jacmel, was also hit hard, and people there are also moving to the countryside.
Many Haitians would like to leave the country altogether. The United States has made it clear in radio broadcasts here in Haiti, in aerial broadcasts from its huge C-130 transport jets, that they are not allowing illegal immigrants to enter the United States. So without a visa, Haitians are being told, “do not come” – you’ll be repatriated. This sounds harsh, but the United States says it is focusing its help inside Haiti, and doesn’t want people to perish trying to cross the high seas.
Still, we see long lines by the immigration offices, by the passport offices, people camping out by the U.S. embassy, the Canadian embassy – all, hoping to leave. All hoping for a future.
By Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.
The government of earthquake-ravaged Haiti must become more visible now, even amid a global outpouring of aid as the impoverished island nation struggles to recover, Brazil's foreign minister said Monday.
"The government, in spite of all the difficulties, should appear more to the people," Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
"I think it's important because after all, they are the ones who transmit the needs of the Haitian people to us, to the international community."
Amorim, speaking from an international conference on Haiti in Montreal, Canada, said it's important for the world to follow the priorities of the Haitian government.
// "We cannot lose sight of the central role of the elected leaders of Haiti," he said. "Haiti is a country that has an elected government."
Amorim was among more than a dozen foreign ministers and leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, attending the Montreal conference. Representatives of many international institutions such as the United Nations and the European Union were also there.
A Little While
by Edwidge Danticat
My cousin Maxo has died. The house that I called home during my visits to Haiti collapsed on top of him.
Maxo was born on November 4, 1948, after three days of agonizing labor. “I felt,” my Aunt Denise used to say, “as though I spent all three days pushing him out of my eyes.” She had a long scar above her right eyebrow, where she had jabbed her nails through her skin during the most painful moments. She never gave birth again.
In Haiti right now you notice how patient, considerate, gentle, even noble people are, all things considered. We've seen very little looting. Very little violence and anger from the people. But this week we did see gunfire and death, out near the airport, in connection with five bags of rice.
We want to warn you, this video is extremely graphic and very hard to look at, but very important to know about:
CNN has sent a crew to the Haitian government compound at the airport to ask about this incident and several other similar incidents reported by other media. If and when we get a response, we'll share that with you.