The first anniversary of Haiti's earthquake is more reality check than commemoration. Yes, the world's immediate response to the western hemisphere's worst natural disaster--a 7.0-magnitude convulsion that leveled Port-au-Prince and killed some 230,000 people on Jan. 12, 2010--was remarkable. But since then, the reconstruction campaign has hit a wall of concrete rubble, as much as 22 million cubic yards of it, only 5% of which has been cleared. "The recovery can't really begin," says Haitian urban architect and presidential candidate Leslie Voltaire, "until the rubble is removed." Yet few if any countries besides the U.S. are funding backhoes and dump trucks. One reason: debris removal isn't sexy. Governments and NGOs pull taxpayer and donor heartstrings with new schools and prosthetic limbs, not by hauling twisted rebar. Another culprit is a leadership vacuum that most Haitians blame on their aloof President, René Préval, who has yet to provide reliable results from the fraud-tainted Nov. 28 presidential election--a reminder that the other rubble destitute Haiti needs to remove is its legacy of centuries of misrule.
Still Digging Out
To see photos and videos about the Haiti quake anniversary, visit time.com/haiti