Continued from page 1

Police and U.N. peacekeepers are back on patrol. Crime is more prevalent since the quake, with attacks in camps terrorizing thousands, especially women and girls. However, violence is nowhere near the levels faced when the U.N. troops arrived six years ago.

But little long-term progress has been made. Reconstruction remains a dream.

President Rene Preval works beside the caved-in hulk of the national palace. Homes and stores lie in heaps.

More than 665,700 plastic tarps and 97,000 tents were handed out, but most are now deteriorating. Officials planned to put up 125,000 transitional shelters — not nearly enough for everyone. Only 5,657 have been built. Nearly four times as many still await assembly, shelter officials say.

When materials finally get through customs, there’s no land to place them.

It took more than three months to hold a donors conference at the United Nations. The 26-member international Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission, headed by former President Bill Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, didn’t convene until last month.

That committee is set to oversee the $5.3 billion pledged internationally for the first two years of Haiti’s reconstruction — money separate from the total spent on humanitarian aid. But only 10 percent of it has been delivered — most as forgiven debt. The rest is mired in bureaucracy and politics of more than 60 countries and organizations that pledged to help.

Everyone bemoans the lack of progress, but Mr. Bellerive said the government needs to proceed with caution so it doesn’t simply replicate the pre-quake slums.

In “the last 30 years there was no planning with any action … no code,” he said. “What we didn’t want to do is launch any demagogic, visible action [just to] prove we are working.”

A few miles from Haiti’s biggest ports and safely past its northernmost slums, Corail-Cesselesse is a blank canvas. On this vast stretch abutting one of the Caribbean’s largest cities, in a country more densely populated than Japan, will rise garment factories, homes, stores and restaurants in one of the country’s first planned communities, the planners say.

Just before a March visit by Mr. Clinton and former President George W. Bush, Mr. Preval said the government was taking over more than 18,500 acres of that land to accommodate thousands of families at risk from the coming floods and hurricanes.

A few hundred acres were picked out for the city’s first, long-awaited relocation camp. The U.N. and U.S. military construction teams flattened and graded the land for deluxe “ShelterBox” tents. About 5,000 residents of the Petionville Club golf course camp, run by actor Sean Penn, were bused in.

Thousands of squatters who could not get access to the “good” camp followed, staking their tarps and poles on its outskirts.

Other big plans for Port-au-Prince are on the drawing board: Rebuild the downtown; spend $100 million to restore the destroyed government center of the Champ de Mars; bring back the cruise ships; hold a design competition for new ministerial buildings, to be “a museum of 21st-century architecture” in the words of government planner Leslie Voltaire.

But if you really want to see the future, Ms. Voltaire said, look north.

Story Continues →