Recovery, Reconstruction and Renewal: What It Takes to Build Better in Haiti
Washington, D.C (Jan. 10, 2013) – On the occasion of the third anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars today hosted an event to address current rebuilding efforts and discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Entitled “Recovery, Reconstruction and Renewal: What It Takes to Build Back Better in Haiti,” the discussion included interventions from key partners and stakeholders from Haiti, the United States, the international community and non-governmental organizations who have been involved in the reconstruction efforts in Haiti. Key speakers included Ambassador Paul G. Altidor, Ambassador of the Republic of Haiti to the United States; Ambassador Thomas Adams, Special Coordinator for Haiti, U.S. Department of State; and Ambassador Albert Ramdin, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States.
Experts from PADF, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and Habitat for Humanity also discussed comprehensive strategies for urban development that take into account brick and mortar reconstruction along with job creation, security, access to land, and the delivery of basic services such as health and water and sanitation. Panelists offered regional and U.S. perspectives as well as a view from the ground to reflect upon what it takes to “build back better” in Haiti.
“We will honor those who lost their lives by building a better, stronger, more stable Haiti,” said Ambassador Paul G. Altidor, Haiti’s Ambassador to the U.S. “As we rebuild and rebound, the challenge is now to not only reconstruct what was lost during the earthquake, but to address the deficits that existed prior to that fateful day in January three years ago.”
“The Government of Haiti is working tirelessly. Our goal is to ensure that we are not placing a bandage on problems exacerbated by the earthquake by offering temporary solutions. Instead we are committed to providing sustainable solutions to the housing and other crises that long preceded the earthquake and to address the challenge of spurring a vibrant economy and job growth.”
Since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which left more than 300,000 dead, destroyed and damaged thousands of houses and buildings, and displaced more than 1.5 million people, PADF has focused on a large portfolio of activities. These efforts have included repairing homes, restoring jobs, and revitalizing neighborhoods. Some of the major recovery and reconstruction efforts include:
• Evaluating the safety of more than 412,000 buildings—nearly every building affected by the earthquake—by working closely with Haiti’s Ministry of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (MTPTC) and Miyamoto International, a seismic engineering firm;
• Repairing nearly 10,000 damaged homes in Port-au-Prince and Léogâne with support from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Caterpillar Inc., and the American Red Cross;
• Training of more than 900 Haitian masons to use improved building techniques
• Improving neighborhood infrastructure and access to basic social services, particularly in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Delmas 32;
• Improving health, education, water and sanitation, infrastructure, agriculture and jobs through community-driven development projects; and
• Building the capacity of urban community-based organizations to encourage them to define their own local priorities, including health, education micro-enterprise, and infrastructure
“While the challenges still facing Haiti are significant, they must not be allowed to dwarf the enormous strides that have been taken by individuals and communities to restore and rebuild their lives. I am heartened and encouraged by the resilience of the people with whom PADF is working and hopeful for Haiti’s future,” said Dr. Judith Hermanson, Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Pan American Development Foundation.
PADF is the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integral socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people, to strengthen civil society and community groups in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2012, it helped more than 9 million beneficiaries in 29 countries. Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Haiti, Colombia and other countries. www.padf.org
The Wilson Center provides a strictly nonpartisan space for the worlds of policymaking and scholarship to interact. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world. www.wilsoncenter.org