Rebuilding Delmas 32 in Haiti
“It was hard to picture the area ever coming back to life,” says Louissaint Toussaint, a local teacher from Port- au-Prince’s Delmas 32 neighborhood. “Everything we owned was destroyed”.
With 45 percent of its buildings damaged by the earthquake and thousands of casualties, Delmas 32 was undoubtedly among the city’s most damaged neighborhoods. Having worked in that neighbor- hood since 2007, PADF stepped in to help.
“Our first priority was to get all the stakeholders and all the grassroots groups to work together,” says Kerline Rock, a PADF project director. “We were then able to link them with the municipal government and to facilitate and reinforce the links between local governance and the community. It was a success that is still evident today.”
With strong political will emanating from the Mayor’s office and the newfound dynamism of the civil society, Delmas 32 put itself on the map as an example in recovery and reconstruction initiatives. The neighborhood was the site chosen for the pilot phase of the Ministry of Public Works’ house repairs program, funded by the U.S. Office of Foreign Disas- ter Assistance and implemented by PADF. Some 3,800 homes were repaired during the course of the year using new anti-seismic techniques.
PADF is working on more house repairs, new res- idential developments, road improvements, a public market, and a community administrative center with over $20 million in funding pledged from the World Bank. And the progress is evident.
“If you stood on a hill above, and looked down at the neighborhood today, you might say ‘Well Delmas 32 wasn’t damaged that bad’ but we were! You couldn’t even walk through the streets then,” explains Toussaint. “Today, merchants are selling, houses are being repaired, and children are going to school. There are still a lot of problems here, but when you consider where we’ve been, we are living again.”