Six weeks after an earthquake reduced Port-au-Prince to rubble, Haitians face a monumental task: They don't just have to build a new city, they have to get rid of the old one. The collapsed stores, houses, and apartment buildings of the Haitian capital add up to 25 times the debris of the World Trade Center, and removing at least enough wreckage to clear drainage ditches before the spring rains start is an urgent concern.
International cleanup planners say the Haitian president is accurate in claiming that clearing the detritus will take 1,000 dump trucks 1,000 days. Compounding the problem, many piles of rubble contain dead bodies, and so must be cleared sensitively, which could mean digging by hand. In the meantime, debris offers some destitute Haitians a source of money, as scavengers search rubble heaps for metal scrap to sell.