PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- President Michel Martelly urged Haitians to recall the tens of thousands of people who lost their lives in a devastating earthquake three years ago, marking the disaster's anniversary Saturday with a simple ceremony.
Martelly also thanked other countries and international organizations for their help after the Jan. 12, 2010, disaster.
"Haitian people, hand in hand, we remember what has gone," Martelly said as a gigantic Haitian flag flew half-staff before him on the front lawn of the former National Palace, a pile of tangled steel reinforcement bars nearby. "Hand in hand, we're remembering, we're remembering Jan. 12."
Three years after the quake, more than 350,000 people still live in grim displacement camps.
Clad in black, several dozen senior government officials gathered where the elegant white palace had stood before it collapsed in the temblor and was later demolished. Foreign diplomats were also there.
In the speech, Martelly announced a government contest seeking designs for a monument to honor those who died in the quake. He also said the government had just released a new construction code aimed at ensuring new buildings are seismically resistant, but didn't provide details.
Haiti's previous presidential administration said 316,000 people were killed but no one really knows how many died. The disaster also displaced more than 1 million others.