PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haïti, Feb. 5, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Three years after the earthquake that devastated Haiti, Development and Peace is today inaugurating the first 50 houses of its 400-house construction project in Ti-Boucan (in the municipality of Gressier) in the presence of Haitian and Canadian officials, religious authorities and the media. At this time, 50 families will receive the keys and legal titles to their new houses. The project uses innovative technology and is based on the full participation of the local population.
Located 20 km from Port-au-Prince, the commune of Gressier was at the epicentre of the earthquake. Development and Peace is working in partnership with the Institut de technologie et d'animation communautaire (ITECA) — a Haitian organization that has been operating in Gressier for the past 25 years — on a construction project to build 400 houses to relocate families who lost everything. "Housing is a crucial issue in Haiti. The inauguration of this project is a message of hope to the most vulnerable populations still living in tents or makeshift shelters three years after the earthquake," declared Michael Casey, Executive Director of Development and Peace.
The houses, which are built to conform to standards allowing them to withstand earthquakes and hurricane-force winds, have been constructed by importing the Habitech International Building System technology to Haiti; this system was developed by the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). Widely used in Asia and Africa, this is the first time that the technology has been used in Haiti. With great simplicity, it enables the rapid construction of houses that are resistant, durable and low-cost. This technology uses unique bricks that fit into one another (interlocking blocks) and promotes the use of local materials, including earth, sand, stone powder, steel and wood.
A plant was set up in Ti-Boucan (about 2.7 km from the national highway) and employs people from the surrounding community. A total of 600 direct jobs have been created with the recruitment of skilled workers on the various construction sites and craftsmen responsible for manufacturing the doors, windows, roofs, and preparing the frames and formwork necessary for house construction. With 50 sites running almost permanently, this project has also generated about a hundred indirect jobs, most of which are street vendors and restaurant owners who serve the factory and the various worksites.
This project is jointly funded by Development and Peace and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The total project budget is approximately $6.5 million.
Development and Peace is the official international development organization of the Canadian Catholic Church and the Canadian member of Caritas Internationalis. Development and Peace is financed by fundraising in parishes, individual donations and government grants. The organization has developed expertise in emergency situations.
Following the earthquake in Haiti, Development and Peace raised $20 million from the Canadian public. The organization also received an additional amount of approximately $7 million from CIDA. To date, some $20 million has been committed towards projects.
Development and Peace's reconstruction program in Haiti is focused chiefly on issues involving food sovereignty and food security, human rights and, the building of houses and social and community infrastructure.
SOURCE: DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE
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