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03/23/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Haiti Earthquake: Understanding Why Haiti's Buildings Collapsed

Haiti's presidential palace, with its spaciousness and sparkling white façade, was a jewel in the heart of a city that has withstood civil wars, military coups, and decades' worth of hurricanes. In the hours after last Tuesday's earthquake, its collapse was cited as a proof of the severity of the crisis at hand. In the days since, it has come to symbolize something more: a government on the verge of a complete meltdown in a country too poor to build even its most central structures properly.

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