Two Months After the Earthquake: Rebuilding in Haiti
Plan for the future
Food For The Poor wants to build 5,000 houses in Haiti this year – an aggressive goal of more than 400 housing units a month. The agency already has been building homes since the Jan. 12 earthquake in Pierre Payen, and new homes are being started now in Trou Du Nord, Demier, and Chastenoye. Food For The Poor can build a simple house for $2,600; one with a latrine costs $3,100. The concrete block homes that Food For The Poor has built in the past will be further improved with structural reinforcements.
The L’Artibonite region, north of Port-au-Prince, is ripe for homebuilding. In addition to offering a refuge for residents fleeing the capital, the area also provides the most fertile land available in Haiti, offering good potential for animal husbandry, agriculture and aquaculture projects.
Food For The Poor will memorialize all of the lost members of the Lynn University family by building The Lynn Memorial Village in Haiti. The village will comprise 25 double-housing units with sanitation units. The village will have an artesian well, and a community center that will provide a place for a health clinic and vocational training. The school that will be built as part of the village will be called the Lynn University Memorial School, and will provide classes for first- to 12th-grades. Food For The Poor will plant fruit trees and begin an animal husbandry project for raising chickens for eggs and meat.
- With so many hospitals destroyed, there will be a need for clinics, and our goal is to build the clinics for partners with necessary credentials to run them. Then we will continue to support them as needed through donations of supplies.
- The agency’s aquaculture projects in Haiti are important to the goal of feeding high-quality protein to the hungry. The arrival this month of an aquaculture expert from the Taiwan ICDF will help with the strategy. The expert’s role is to manage the existing ponds for optimum production, as well as scout new locations that would sustain more tilapia and basa ponds.
- More fishing villages will be added to the existing 30 where it is feasible. The priority right now, however, is to make certain the existing fishing villages are running as efficiently as possible. Haiti certainly has the capacity to sustain many more fishing villages along the coast, and Food For The Poor has demonstrated expertise in identifying good locations, training local fishermen and monitoring the results.
- Agricultural projects have been a mainstay of the agency’s desire to create a self-sustaining economy in Haiti, and it will consider migration patterns when looking at new agricultural projects.
“The urgency to provide homes cannot be overstated. Those who have had to live in the open since the earthquake are in danger of any number of diseases,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor. “The seasonal rains already have started, and tents will not provide substantial protection against the elements.”
Sanitation and water
Food For The Poor will double the investment this year in Haiti for both sanitation and water. Pit latrines and sanitation blocks that include both toilets and shower stalls will be built in areas of critical need, and will be part of the plan wherever housing is constructed.
The threat of disease looms over the recovery of the country. By installing sanitary facilities, Food For The Poor can help stop the spread of dysentery, cholera and malaria.
Providing clean water was critical even before the earthquake, but Jan. 12 made the need for clean water a matter of life or death. Food For The Poor quickly mobilized to provide containers of bottled water immediately after the disaster. That immediate action now has shifted to a strategy of providing long-term solutions through water filtration systems. The ones provided by Food For The Poor reduce waterborne diseases by removing suspended pathogens. The filtration systems treat up to 10 gallons of water per minute (10,000 gallons per day) and can support a community of up to 3,000 people. The rugged system can be transported by pick-up truck, and can be operational in four hours.
Food For The Poor continues to provide general relief for the Haitian people. Since the earthquake, the agency has acquired and delivered more than 9,300 tons of food, medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, building materials and other goods. The 491 containers have provided lifesaving goods to those suffering from the effects of the earthquake. The people of Haiti have been provided with millions of meals from the rice, beans, canned goods and water shipped into Haiti. The feeding center at the warehouse and office complex continues to provide about 15,000 hot meals a day.
“Our donors have given a tremendous amount in the past two months to ensure that their brothers and sisters in Haiti have a chance to eat, drink clean water and lie down under some kind of shelter at night,” said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. “We are grateful for their committed support and we will continue to count on their generosity in the long recovery we have ahead of us. The most immediate threat will be the rains that come with hurricane season.”
Recent rains have caused even more damage, especially in the areas of Miragoane and Anse a Veau. Food For The Poor was able to distribute food, shoes and other necessary items. Miragoane received aid first, since items could be delivered by truck, but the agency had to take supplies to Anse a Veau by boat. The aid was delivered immediately after last week’s rains and continues this week.
FFP/Haiti distribution includes a network of more than 2,000 beneficiaries that either receive direct aid — orphanages, schools, hospitals — or beneficiaries such as associations, parishes, churches, congregations and community groups that, in turn, distribute to other people in need. They receive an assortment of products including rice, beans, canned food, water and personal hygiene items that allow them to serve the various needs of the destitute, especially those living in the tent cities.
Teams of workers at FFP/Haiti have been going into the local community organizations and churches to distribute rice, beans, pasta, crackers and canned goods. In these community distributions, the agency is able to help about 1,500 families at a time.
Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the United States, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.foodforthepoor.org
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