The massive earthquake delivered a terrible blow to Haiti. Back-to-back hurricanes had already destroyed important infrastructure in places like Cayes-Jacmel, where the community’s drinking water system was affected, dramatically reducing the amount of clean water for 5,000 people.
With a desperate situation at hand, community leaders asked PADF for help.
With financial support from the Taiwanese government, PADF rebuilt the critical water distribution system in this community in the Southeast province. It also refurbished a separate water distribution system that supports 600 families. Both projects also provided much-needed employment for residents.
In the impoverished slum of Cité Soleil, a Caterpillar Foundation-funded project cleared rubble and debris that were choking more than 18 km (11 miles) of the community’s open-air drainage system. The clean-up activity provided 1,200 Haitians with short-term work, while providing continuous benefits to more than 150,000 people around the canals.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people in Port-au-Prince and nearby towns like Léogâne didn’t have homes to go back to because they had been destroyed or simply were too frightened to return.
"When it rained the water would come inside the tent. It was hot and cold. It was very difficult," said Marie Edith St. Hilaire, 63, a self-employed artisan and embroiderer who stayed in a tent at a camp near Léogâne for 15 days.
Struggling to cope with the living conditions, she returned home and set-up a tent a few feet away from the front door. For the next six months she lived outside making the best of a terrible situation.
With support from the American Red Cross, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, and the Caterpillar Foundation, PADF began the reconstruction process. We trained 900 masons in safer building techniques and taught local contractors valuable construction skills.
“The fissures were not very difficult to fix,” said Joseph Osnel, a 34-year-old engineer who helped conduct repairs.
House by house we refined our techniques. As Haitian masons built the walls, we monitored the quality of the repairs. We worked closely with the Public Works department to help their inspectors supervise the works.
Within several months, PADF had overseen the repairs of more than 10,000 houses in Port-au-Prince and Léogâne.