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Haiti reconstruction: An ongoing challenge

01-12-2012 14:16 BJT

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Haiti is coming up on the 2 year anniversary of the earthquake that hit the country back in 2010. It's only been 6 months since the people of this Caribbean nation elected a president but, with the help of NGOs, many are hopeful that reconstruction will continue to pick up speed.

Rubble removal in Haiti - It is a daunting, but necessary task. These men and women are part of the debris removal project headed by the United Nations Development Program and the Haitian Reconstruction Fund.

In this picture taken on Jan. 9, 2012, the worker's shirt hangs at the construction
site of homes for people who were displaced by the 2010 earthquake on the outskirts
of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. As the hemisphere's poorest country marks the second
anniversary of the earthquake that killed some 300,000 people, only about half of the
$4.6 billion in promised aid has been spent, half a million people are still living
in crowded camps and only four of the 10 largest projects funded by international
donors have broken ground. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

At hard to reach places, like this site, rubble is removed manually. Women work side-by-side with the men through the grueling labor.

With this hard work, today, half of the 10 million cubic meters of rubble have been removed.

Raul Pierre Louis, community leader, said, “We are late, but I think we are moving ahead. We are still moving. I think by the end of the year we can remove 60 percent of the debris in port-au-prince.”

A demonstrator walks past a homeless woman while carrying a sign that reads "No
Reconstruction without Decentralization" during a rally to demand reconstruction of
housing in areas affected by the 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince January 11, 2012.
Thursday marks the second year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that killed
more than 200,000 and made more than one million homeless. Two years after more than
500,000 still live in tent camps. REUTERS/Swoan Parker (HAITI - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL

Rubble removal is just the start of the biggest task to move half a million people still living in camps, back to their neighborhoods.

This is the concept of the new government’s flagship program. With name “16-6”, the goal is to move six camps into sixteen neighborhoods.

Clement Belizaire, director of “16-6”, said, “The biggest part is the rehabilitation of the neighborhoods, because 80 percent of the population around Port-au-prince live in precarious neighborhoods we have to make the living conditions better; they have to have access to basic services be it water, electricity, school for their kids, road access and a pharmacy.”

The project just began in September and already camps such as this one have been removed. The hope is this pilot program will be successful so that those living in the 1000 camps that are left can return to new and improved neighborhoods.

UN agencies have supported the government with the “16-6” initiative through debris removal as well as the rebuilding of neighborhoods. New programs such as Carmen, supported by UNDP, help repair damaged houses so families can move back into them sooner.

Since its inauguration in November, hundreds of Haitians have come to register their house for an assessment. Haitian engineers are later sent to evaluate the needs of each home and decide how it can best be repaired.

Jean Harol Bastien, engineer for Carmen said, “This is a difficult job. Sometimes we have to walk great distances up the mountain to supervise, but I like it because I am helping my country advance.”

As large steps have been taken in debris management, programs such as 16/6 and Carmen can begin to give reconstruction a clearer direction. The programs are only weeks into inception and success depends on many factors. But the will of Haitians to move forward may be a great driving force.


Editor:Zhang Dan |Source: CNTV.CN

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