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Archive for the ‘Haiti’ Category

Art gives a new life to 350 Haitian families

Posted by Lindy on May 1, 2011


It’s spring, and signs of Haiti’s economic recovery are popping up in surprising ways: handcrafted quilts from Port-au-Prince, papier-mâché vases from Jacmel, and jewelry from Croix des Bouquets — all on store shelves throughout the United States, said a statement from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

More than 350 Haitian families are now able to provide food and afford schooling for their children thanks to the incredible success of our Fairwinds Trading project. This program is enabling a community of Haitian artists to produce market-ready goods for sale in the United States, and it’s been very successful thanks to multiple orders from retailers like Macy’s and Anthropologie.

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund awarded a loan of $174,832 to Fairwinds Trading in January of this year. Fairwinds Trading supports hundreds of artisans by giving them the logistics support, design guidance, and the US market connections that they need to export their art.

The artists participating in this program are eager to earn their own livelihoods, proud to contribute to their “Ayiti Cheri” and are very optimistic, an optimism that is contagious and that energizes the whole community.


Posted in Fragile environments, Haiti, Hazards, IGCSE, Solution to problems, Tectonics, Y7/8 | Leave a Comment »

Haiti – Reconstruction : Approximately one third of the refugees have found shelter 22/01/2011

Posted by Lindy on January 22, 2011

One third of the 1.5 million individuals who have been living in “tent cities” have relocated to date, with another 400,000 expected to relocate over the next 9 months.

This has been achieved by:

  • The return of families to homes that have not only been  fully repaired, but are sturdier and more resilient than before the quake;
  • Temporary housing in people’s neighbourhoods of origin;
  • The repair of building that can be achieved relatively cheaply and quickly.

Underway are:

  • A rural project to build a village for 3000 Haitians by Mission of Hope Haiti
  • A World Bank project to repair houses and build 5000 new housing units in the city
  • A USAID to finance 15,000 serviced sites in new communities in the Cap Haitien and Port-au-Prince  [ A version of a self help project – see urban unit]
  • A  USAID financed housing and neighbourhood upgrading in earthquake-damaged communities for 10,000 households.

Posted in Development, Haiti, IGCSE, Solution to problems, Tectonics, Urban environments | Leave a Comment »

Solar lights the way for a new Haiti

Posted by Lindy on December 9, 2010


Before the January 12th earthquake, only 12.5% of the population was joined to the electricity grid. After the quake, diesel fuel was more difficult to get and more expensive. Much of Haiti was left in darkness. But solar power could be the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thousands of LED handheld lanterns have been issued, together with solar district lighting. Solar cookers and solar purification plants are now being shipped in. The latter are even more important since the outbreak of cholera, which has not been seen in Haiti for several generations.

But this solar input is not just as a result of the quake. As early as 2008, researchers were in Haiti to see what sources of power, that could be provided by solar, would best meet the needs of the people there.

Dan Schnitzer conducted surveys asking residents what kind of help they most wanted in conquering their energy woes. He found that the average Haitian family spent 10 percent of its annual $1,200 income on kerosene and candles and another 5 percent on charging up their cell phones at 25 cents a pop.

He presented them with a list of 10 technologies including solar-powered streetlights and community facilities, biofuel systems, home solar systems and portable solar lights. More than 75 percent of the 300 or more Haitians he surveyed said they were most interested in home solar systems and portable solar-powered lights.

Schnitzer and his partners decided to open a retail store selling home solar systems for $240 that would provide a basic home with energy-efficient lighting and enough extra power to charge a cell phone. The $240 kits are complete with installation, wires, battery back-up and light bulbs, he said. The store opened in July 2010.

But this work was quickly overtaken once it had been realized how many women and children were at risk of attack in the camps, largely due to lack of light. So solar lights for the tents and hand held torches became a priority for many NGOs.

Posted in Appropriate technology, Haiti, Hazards, Tectonics | Leave a Comment »

Solar Cookers – a Christmas present for Haiti

Posted by Lindy on November 24, 2010

One of the major issues in Haiti is deforestation and the consequent lack of fuel for an urban society not blessed with mains electric. Clean currents , a small green energy production company in Maryland, NE USA, was looking for a Christmas project. With only 18 workers, everyone had an input. They decided green cookers for Haiti would be a great contribution and looked to Solar Cookers International, a company they have worked with in the past, to supply the goods. 150-200 families will receive a surprise Christmas gift this year.

Posted in Appropriate technology, Food supply, Haiti, Hazards, IGCSE, Tectonics | Leave a Comment »

Haiti – Earthquake :Fact Sheet #6, November 19, 2010

Posted by Lindy on November 21, 2010


_ As of November 16, Shelter Cluster members had completed more than 19,000 transitional shelters (t-shelters), sufficient to house nearly 96,000 individuals

USAID/OFDA staff also followed-up on earlier assessments by USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team of flooding damage in Léogâne, caused by Hurricane Tomas. Only a few beneficiaries reported that floodwaters had entered their USAID/OFDA-funded t-shelters; most reported no damage from the hurricane.

ACTED is also beginning to conduct repairs of “yellow” houses – buildings assessed as needing minor repairs, estimated to take less than 1 week to fix.

CHF has also recently begun to construct household latrines for beneficiaries who have sufficient space adjacent to  their t-shelters; approximately 1,200 t-shelters will receive latrines, out of a planned total of 1,700 t-shelters to be constructed.

_ IRD has constructed approximately 1,000 t-shelters in Léogâne and continues to build more t-shelters at a rate of 96 per week. IRD reports no customs issues and no shortage of construction materials on the local market, including wood, cement, rebar, and roofing materials.


Catholic Relief Services (CRS) had completed 550 t-shelters as of November 16 and expects to complete all -funded t-shelters before April 30, 2011. Construction in the Delmas 62 neighbourhood of metropolitan Port-au-Prince is nearly complete and has begun to expand outward from the central neighbourhood.

CRS continues to purchase rubble crushers for beneficiaries and sand and gravel for its construction project.

Posted in Haiti, Hazards, IGCSE, Tectonics | Leave a Comment »

Haiti Earthquake Caused by Unknown Fault; Blamed Fault Ready to Produce Large Earthquake

Posted by alec8c on November 1, 2010

ScienceDaily (Oct. 26, 2010) — Researchers found a previously unmapped fault was responsible for the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti and that the originally blamed fault remains ready to produce a large earthquake.

After earthquake in Haiti. Researchers found a previously unmapped fault was responsible for the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti and that the originally blamed fault remains ready to produce a large earthquake. (Credit: iStockphoto/Niko Guido)

Eric Calais, a Purdue University professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, led the team that was the first on the ground in Haiti after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake, which killed more than 200,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless.

The team determined the earthquake’s origin is a previously unmapped fault, which they named the Léogâne fault. The newly discovered fault runs almost parallel to the Enriquillo fault, which was originally thought to be the source of the earthquake, he said.

“This means that the Enriquillo fault is still capable of producing large earthquakes and that Haiti has to adapt to this seismic hazard,” said Calais, who in September was appointed science adviser for the United Nations Development Program in Haiti. “The fault system is more complex than we originally thought, and we don’t yet know how the January earthquake impacted the other faults. Preliminary measurements indicate that the Enriquillo fault did not release any accumulated seismic energy and, therefore, remains a significant threat for Haiti, and Port-au-Prince in particular. We need to investigate the fault system further to be able to determine where the next earthquakes might occur and how large they could be.”

The shifting of the Earth’s crust after a major earthquake can add to or reduce stresses building up in nearby faults and can apply pressures that effectively stop or release other earthquakes. Because of this, the earthquake along the Léogâne fault may have delayed or advanced the timing for the next earthquake on the Enriquillo fault, he said.

“For practical purposes, speculating on when the next earthquake might happen is not an effective strategy,” Calais said. “We rather need to focus attention, energy and funds on proactive measures to help the country adapt to earthquake hazards and, eventually, reduce economic losses and save lives. Our finding raises many important scientific questions and we are working to find the answers, but we already know that the earthquake threat in Haiti is inexorable. The reconstruction process that is now starting in Haiti is an opportunity to build better, of course, but also to develop an effective prevention and mitigation strategy for the future.”

The team analyzed data they recorded before the Jan. 12 earthquake and new measurements taken after the event. Their work is detailed in a paper that will be published in the November issue of Nature Geosciences.

Andrew Freed, paper co-author and a Purdue professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, said the absence of any surface rupture was the first clue that the earthquake did not happen along the Enriquillo fault.

“It was a big surprise that we couldn’t find a surface rupture anywhere,” Freed said. “We did find other physical changes that we expected after an earthquake of that magnitude, but in entirely the wrong location to have come from the Enriquillo fault.”

For instance the team found that the epicenter area rose by a little more than half a meter and that the earthquake caused contraction of the Earth’s crust opposite of what would be expected from the Enriquillo fault, he said.

The team used global positioning system equipment and radar interferometry to measure how the ground moved during the earthquake, which provides insight into what is happening as much as 20 kilometers below the surface. The team then used a computer model to determine what characteristics the source of the earthquake must have in order to produce the observed changes.

Through this work, the team discovered the previously unmapped Léogâne fault, which is located just to the north of the Enriquillo fault and dips by a 60-degree angle to the north. The fault is a blind thrust, meaning one side of the fault is being thrust over the other, but the fault does not reach the surface.

About 30 kilometers of the fault shifted during the January earthquake, and the sides of the fault moved by as much as five meters relative to each other below the Earth’s surface. The full length of the fault is not known, Freed said.

“Only portions of a fault are affected during any given earthquake, and the length of the portion affected is relative to the magnitude of the event,” Freed said. “Because this is a blind fault, we don’t have some of the clues at the surface, like scars from past ruptures, that show where the fault runs. On the Enriquillo fault you can almost walk the line of the fault because scars from many past events reveal the fault below. That isn’t the case with the Léogâne fault.”

The team plans to continue to take measurements of the postseismic processes that allow them to understand changing stresses within the Earth’s crust over time that could help point to areas where seismic hazard is increasing. In addition they plan to create models to better understand the fault systems, their behavior and why they exist at these particular locations, Freed said.

In addition to Freed, co-authors include Glen Mattioli of the University of Arkansas; Falk Amelung, Sang-Hoon Hong and Timothy Dixon of the University of Miami; Sigurjón Jónsson of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia; Pamela Jansma of the University of Texas at Arlington; Claude Prépetit of the Bureau of Mines in Haiti; and Roberte Momplaisir of the State University of Haiti.

Calais has studied the Enriquillo and Septentrional faults on the island of Hispaniola, which includes Haiti and the Dominican Republic, since 1989. His research team has been measuring the build up of energy along these faults using global positioning system technology for 10 years. The team first reported the risk for a major earthquake there in 2008.

This work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Disaster Risk Management System Development Program of the United Nations Development Program in Haiti. It was performed in collaboration with, and in support to, the Haitian National System for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Posted in Fragile environments, Haiti, Hazards, IGCSE, Tectonics | Leave a Comment »

Pediatric Field Hospital in Haiti Provides Lessons in Disaster Planning and Response

Posted by alec8c on November 1, 2010

ScienceDaily (Oct. 3, 2010) — When a devastating earthquake hit Haiti earlier this year, physicians and health care workers were immediately deployed to the capital, Port-au-Prince. A study on the creation and evolution of a pediatric field hospital — from a disaster service facility to a full-fledged children’s hospital — during the weeks and months following the disaster, was presented on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010, at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco.

“Disaster Response in a Pediatric Field Hospital: Lessons Learned in Haiti,” chronicles the deployment of Miami Children’s Hospital staff — surgeons, pediatricians, nurses, operating room personnel, physical therapists, pharmacists, X-ray technicians and social workers — to a field hospital operated by the non-profit organization Project Medishare. The hospital operated for 45 days, with rotating medical teams specifically composed of specialists and caregivers to best provide the services needed.

Initially, the goals of the hospital were to staff 75 beds for admitted children, an operating room, and a wound care center where surgical management of open wounds (debridement) and dressing changes could occur with sedation.

During the first five days, 93 percent of pediatric patients were surgical specialty admissions, with 40 children undergoing operations, mostly for fractures and wounds. Simultaneously, more than 50 procedures — debridement, dressing changes and castings — took place in the wound center.

Two months after the disaster, however, care needs evolved dramatically.

“As time passed, the facility evolved to more closely emulate a children’s hospital with 80 percent of patients requiring general pediatric and neonatal care and only 20 percent requiring admission for surgical issues,” said Cathy Burnweit, MD, FAAP, lead author of the study. As the hospital developed the capacity for intensive care, newborns — including those born premature and with congenital anomalies — and children with acute burns and trauma were transported to the hospital.

The transformation of the facility from a disaster service facility to a pediatric hospital with intensive care capacity required changes in equipment, medical staff and leadership.

“In addition to assuring that the major specialty needs were covered, the team approach afforded us an amazing esprit de corps and a built-in support system,” said Dr. Burnweit.

“Numerous sources have stressed how grateful the Haitian people were for the care provided by the volunteers in the aftermath of the earthquake. But we physicians and health care workers, in return, reaped remarkable benefits out of our commitment to provide services to Haiti’s children,” said Dr. Burnweit. “This was truly the most uplifting and rewarding experience I have had as a doctor.”

Posted in Appropriate technology, Global warming, Haiti, Solution to problems, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

Haiti post-quake – how are they doing?

Posted by Lindy on October 30, 2010

The Overseas Development Institute, a U.K. think-tank, had already compiled a report outlining 28 disasters over 30 years of earthquake aid. A report on Haiti Real Time Evaluation (RTE) .

What went well:

  • medical care, with a major contribution from Médecins Sans Frontières, was strong,
  • the World Health Organization’s disease control efforts were strong
  • water distributions were prioritized, with thousands of cubic liters distributed by May 2010; organization of food assistance, after initial hiccups, meant food aid reached 3.5 million people;
  • d emergency education efforts were good.
  • 57%of the $1.5 billion revised humanitarian flash appeal was funded.

What was not so good:

  • Needs assessments were incomplete and duplicative;
  • transitional – as in medium-term – shelter was not provided at scale;
  • sanitation solutions were inadequate;
  • the overall protection response – particularly to sexual and gender based violence – was weak.
  • few agencies informed local communities of what they were doing or why they were there;
  • Most coordination meetings for each sector, or “cluster*“, took place in English, marginalising locals who spoke only French or Creole;
  • UN and cluster leadership was poor – it took a long time to establish – some groups did not even meet fro 3 weeks after the disaster.
  • Humanitarian NGOs are geared up to working in rural environments – they do have the skills or experience of how to respond to urban ones.


  • NGOs/UN need to plan how to work in urban environments
  • The clusters should do more than just talk to each other – they should plan joint strategies
  • Improve protection and water and sanitation responses in crises;
  • to use new technology more effectively –
  • for instance using SMS applications to distribute cash,
  • or satellite imagery in needs-assessments.
  • Agencies should finally try to grasp the lesson that taking an inclusive, participatory approach (with the local people) does not necessarily slow down response, but can indeed make it quicker.

*Cluster – is a group of UN organisations/NGOs who come together to look after a partiuclar aspect AID – each group is headed up by a cluster leader e.g in this case the Red Cross for shelter and UNICEF for water, and it is these organisations that coordinate response and ensure that duplication does not occur, nor are areas left un-catered for.

Posted in Haiti, Hazards, IGCSE, Tectonics | Leave a Comment »

Haiti – the good news or the bad first?

Posted by Lindy on October 23, 2010

Lets go for the good news:,0,1952312.story


Randal Perkins of Pompano Beach watched with satisfaction as his $400,000 hydraulic excavator clawed into a towering pile of concrete chunks in the shattered heart of this city.

“This is what the people have been waiting for,” Perkins as a crowd of bystanders mesmerized for hours by the demolition and removal of a collapsed funeral home.

Perkins had been waiting, too, with increasing impatience, for the cleanup of Haiti to begin. Chief executive of a Florida-based disaster recovery company, he had made a $25 million gamble that he could capitalize on the Jan. 12 earthquake. He had partnered with a Haitian conglomerate, imported a dozen shiploads of heavy equipment and set up a state-of-the-art base camp here — but then, nothing.

It has been obvious since January that clearing the wreckage is necessary for this country’s reconstruction. But the problem was so big and complex that the government and donors got stuck in visionary mode, planning the future while the present remained mired in rubble.

By late summer, however, the need to tackle the earthquake damage directly became so glaring that some initial steps were taken. The government tendered its first cleanup contract to Perkins’ Haiti Recovery Group. Worth $7.5 million to $13.5 million — nobody would be more precise — the contract represented a minuscule piece of a debris removal operation expected to cost $1.2 billion.

He knows that companies like his are sometimes seen as disaster vultures but dismisses the criticism.

“People always say you make money off other people’s misery,” Perkins said. “But, listen, somebody’s got to do the work.”

The government is paying from $32.50 to $58 a cubic yard for debris removal. That is considerably more than the American government paid contractors after Hurricane Katrina. But the work in Haiti, contractors say, is tougher: Trucks can haul fewer loads a day because of bad roads; fuel costs are higher; buildings have to be demolished. On the other hand, labour costs are far lower. The Haitians Perkins has hired and trained — close to 100, he said — are getting $1,000 a month, a substantial wage in Haiti, though much less than the $450 to $500 a day he is paying American machine operators here.

Now for the bad news:

Cholera outbreak spreads toward Haiti’s capital

An outbreak of cholera has spread outside a rural valley in central Haiti, intensifying worries the disease could reach squalid tarp camps that house hundreds of thousands of earthquake survivors in the capital. By Saturday more than 200 were confirmed dead in the poor Caribbean nation’s worst health crisis since the Jan. 12 quake, and authorities said more than 2,000 were sick.

The cholera outbreak has been centred in the central Artibonite region, but at least five cases were confirmed in Arcahaie, a town closer to the quake-devastated capital, Port-au-Prince. Another four cases were reported in Limbe, a small northern municipality.The sick include 50 inmates at a prison in Mirebalais, just north of Port-au-Prince.

Health officials are fearful about the outbreak spreading into the capital, where thousands and thousands of people are living in unsanitary conditions in refugee camps.

Aid groups and the government were rushing in medical and relief supplies, including 10,000 boxes of water purification, according to the World Health Organization.

Cholera was not present in Haiti before the earthquake, but experts had warned that conditions were ripe for disease to strike in areas with limited access to clean water. Cholera is a bacterial infection spread through contaminated water. It causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting that can lead to dehydration and death within hours.



Posted in Haiti, Hazards, IGCSE, Tectonics | Leave a Comment »

Recycling earthquake rubble to build safe homes for Haitians

Posted by Lindy on October 19, 2010

By Bob Allen

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is entering a new relief phase in Haiti, moving families into permanent homes built from the rubble created by the Jan. 12 earthquake that left them homeless.

Using rubble from a family’s previous home, permanent housing for earthquake victims can be built for about $3,000.  The network has set a goal of building 1,000 permanent homes in the area of Grand Goave, Haiti, over the next three years.

Beginning with a trench foundation, steel mesh is erected into a basket-style wall form that is filled with earthquake rubble broken up with sledgehammers. Field-made metal hooks keep the mesh evenly spaced. When the wall baskets are filled, mortar is added to stabilize the structure. Additional coats of mortar provide a finished look, not unlike a concrete-block exterior.

Add a wooden roof frame covered with tin, Brendle said, “and you have a very serviceable home.”

Using materials from a family’s destroyed home allows them to remain in their old neighbourhood. It aids with cleanup and solves complicated land-use issues. Construction materials are purchased locally, and Haitians are employed, boosting the local economy.

“Many families with young children are eager to get out of tents and into such houses,” Brendle said. “As we learn and perfect this process, dozens of these houses can be built, providing permanent starter homes for Haitian families.”

Brendle said the homes will have a small porch in front and a privacy enclosure for a shower in the back. They also will have a composting toilet.

Because of the strength of the steel basket and the fact that the contents are allowed to shift during an earthquake, he said engineers believe the houses will withstand an 8.0 earthquake with only minor cosmetic damage.

Posted in Appropriate technology, Fragile environments, Haiti, Hazards, Recycling, Solution to problems, Tectonics | Leave a Comment »