The J/P Haiti Relief Organization has enlisted the help of Architecture for Humanity to engage the camp in several improvements to increase longevity and comfort for the 50,000 displaced Haitian now living there.
J/P HRO, our project partner, took over management of the United Nations International Organisation for Migration (UNIOM) refugee camp in Petionville, and is overseeing the relocation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to protect them from inclement weather.
Projects for benefit of Haitians include an elementary school, child-friendly spaces, and an art school.
Securing the Women's Clinic
In May, 2010, Architecture for Humanity sent a team to raise the women's clinic off the ground and onto a more solid foundation. The clinic was at that point a cluster of tents set on uncovered ground, a situation taht attracted concern by the end of April and the impending rainy season. The Architecture for Humanity Haiti team staffed, sourced materials for and managed the wood frame platform construction. A build crew of predominately unskilled camp residents was assembled for the project.
Platforms were build on a grid of 4x4 posts on concrete piers. Special thanks to Tommy Stewart, a retired architect/builder and Architecture for Humanity volunteer from Ft. Worth, for guiding the largely unskilled Haitian work crew through the construction process which included pouring foundations, sizing and cutting lumber, laying joists and flooring and framing stairs.
Information is power: mapping and visualization
The January 12, 2010 earthquake which rocked Haiti affected nearly 2 million people - close to one fifth of the population.
The scale of the challenges which Architecture for Humanity and other NGOs collectively strive to address is unprecedented. Information is power, and the people we serve in many cases lack the agency to improve their own situation, thus, they look to us.
As designers, our greatest armaments are planning and design, but without information, even these fall short.
Currently, J/P - as well as many other organizations working in Haiti such as Architecture for Humanity - often operate without up-to-date mapping, statistics, and demographics for their areas of charge.
To the extent that this information is unavailable, or out of date, planning for the fate of thousands is piecemeal and difficult.
For example, the relocation and repair teams at the camp must pick daily through those temporary shelters slated for relocation and/or repair.
J/P's staff is diligent about constant visual inspection, but resources are always limited.
We are reaching out to partners who can assist us in good visualization.
Proposed mapping and information management for a camp of 50,000-55,000 internally displaced persons would benefit:
If the average Haitian family is 5 people, 3 children:
As internally displaced persons are moved into secure and permanent housing, the strain on emergency infrastructure provision - medical, sanitation, water provision, etc. - is greatly reduced.
How you can help
Current needs for this project (here's where you play your part, everyone out there):
- Site mapping - to help organizations like J/PHRO better manage the repair of shelters and the relocation of families, we seek assistance with up-to-date topography, hi-resolution aerial photography, and other mapping information such as physical attributes (roads, watercourses, trees) as well as cultural and social amenities. Experience with creating and managing GIS information is highly desired.