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Earthquake Recovery Update - Episcopal Diocese of Haiti
Overview and photos by Bob Ellis, Coordinator of PC(USA) International Health and Development
January 25, 2011
Holy Cross Hospital
Jimmy Hite, a Presbyterian architect from Greenville, NC (and former President of the Medical Benevolence Foundation (MBF) visited Haiti January 7-12, 2011, to finalize plans for the remodeling of the three-story wing of Holy Cross Hospital (HSC). At my request he visited several other programs of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti (EEH) and met with Bishop Duracin and others to discuss the status of these programs.
A contract has now been signed with TECINA, an experienced Haitian construction firm, for the remodeling of the three-story wing of Holy Cross Hospital. The remodeling has been delayed several months as specifications have been changed for the replacement of the electrical system, on-site sewage treatment plant, and the purchase of two three-phase generators
A Haitian engineer has been contracted to serve as an on-site construction representative to ensure that all specifications are met and quality control is maintained. He will provide daily email reports on progress and any matters that need to be resolved. The renovations are primarily funded through a $750,000 PDA grant from Haiti Earthquake Relief Funds facilitated by MBF.
HSC is operating thirty inpatient beds, though it can expand to fifty beds if needed. The laboratory and x-ray unit are functioning and there are six Haitian physicians on staff and several part-time specialists. Dr. Robert Sloane, a U.S. physician from Fort Worth, TX currently in residence at the hospital, reports that the outpatient clinic is seeing about 100 patients per day. He reports that renovations are underway in the three-story wing and services are being modified to accommodate the construction work. A community health office is operating, and mobile clinics to the surrounding communities are scheduled every week through early April.
FSIL Nursing School
Jimmy inspected the repaired security wall on the east side of the Nursing School. The original wall had collapsed during the earthquake due to shallow footings in unstable soil. The new wall has deeper footings.
A new generator has been installed and the damaged water tower has been replaced. These projects were supported by the original grant of $200,000 from the PC(USA) earthquake relief funds granted by PDA to MBF, which handled the contract for these repairs.
The Nursing School, which opened in January 2005, offers a BSN degree and now has approximately 100 students enrolled in the classes. The third class of students completed their course of study in December 2010.
During the days following the January 12, 2010 earthquake, the nursing students provided emergency care to more than 5,000 individuals in the Leogane area until outside medical resources could enter the city.
Saint Vincent’s School for Handicapped Children
Jimmy Hite met with Father Leon Sadoni, Principal of Saint Vincent’s School, and Mike McIntyre, a consultant hired by Episcopal Relief and Development, to discuss the status of the institution. The school formerly had two sites on adjacent blocks, one of which was a classroom facility which was totally destroyed by the earthquake, and the other contained a dormitory, administrative block, prosthetics/orthotics shop, physical therapy and treatment rooms, which were only partly destroyed.
The school is operating with a current enrollment of approximately 200 students, compared with 350 enrolled prior to the earthquake. Most of the students are brought to the facility each day by their families and only a few live in the remaining residential facilities. The rubble from the collapsed buildings has been removed and detailed architectural plans will be drafted which envision a school which will accommodate 500 students and clinical facilities.
The Diocese is negotiating with the government to obtain additional land near the current facility to consolidate the school and dormitory facilities. Dr. Harriet Epstein, PhD, MPH, a consultant to the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, has prepared a proposal for the restoration of Saint Vincent’s’ School which would provide residential facilities for 200 children, 20 classrooms, a library, laundry, cafeteria, chapel, entertainment room, five-room clinic, prosthetic workshop, administrative offices, music room, art room, and sewing room. Jimmy Hite is developing preliminary plans to facilitate negotiations with the government as well as to provide a basis for estimating construction costs.
Darbonne Community Health Center
Jimmy Hite also discussed the Darbonne Community Health Training Center, which had been completely destroyed by the earthquake. This facility had provided administrative offices and classrooms for both the community health and midwifery training programs of the Diocese, as well as offering dormitory rooms for trainees from the surrounding villages and visiting teams from the U.S. The Bishop stated he would very much like the facility rebuilt, but no funds are available.
Jimmy visited the site and reported that all rubble has been removed down to the remaining concrete floor slab. The iron gates were salvaged and remain on site. Jimmy recommends retaining the building floor and erecting a lightweight steel structure on the existing foundation column footings. The layout would retain the essence of the original plan – a large central space flanked on both sides by offices, classrooms and secure storage spaces. The steel structure can be fabricated locally and would have a
pitched metal roof and exterior walls of reinforced concrete masonry with a painted stucco finish. This project would use both locally available materials and labor.
Saint Croix School
The primary/secondary (K-12) school located behind Holy Cross hospital was also totally destroyed by the earthquake. The 700 students are now studying in tents pitched under the trees on the recreation field, but the tents are deteriorating and classes cannot be held when it is raining. Father Kerwin Delicat, the Episcopal Priest of Saint Croix, told Jimmy that no NGOs or other donors have offered to help with reconstruction.
Jimmy developed plans last year for a basic two-story steel frame and reinforced concrete school building with an estimated cost of $3 million. Jimmy suggests building as much of the plan as possible, including a multipurpose assembly space which can function as a worship space until the Sainte Croix church next door can rebuild. Jimmy will send plans to TECINA Construction Company for a more accurate estimate of construction costs.
Leogane Housing Initiatives
Several of the HRT members have expressed concern about the thousands of families still living in tents in the Leogane area. It seems appropriate to us that the HRT explore housing initiatives in Haiti to determine “best practices” and see if there are groups that we can work with to establish at least transitional and possibly permanent housing communities.
Jimmy is also interested in appropriate housing, and sent a recently published document titled Kreyol Living Wisdom & Haiti Regeneration: Using Indigenous Environmental Patterns, by C.R. Andrews and Seth Wachtel. Jimmy tried to meet with representatives of the Millard Fuller housing initiative in Leogane, but neither the director nor any of their U.S. teams were present (the director, Billy Popko, had returned home due to illness).
Jimmy also talked with Father Franz Cole, EEH Director of Development. The Diocese has established an agency titled Centre Diocésain de Développement Integré et de Secours (CEDDISEC) which is proceeding with plans for permanent housing. The initiative involves construction of “temporary” housing units of treated wood with concrete floors and metal roofs, which can then transition into accessory buildings or storage buildings after permanent structures are constructed.
The program has already completed about 100 “temporary” housing units and is proceeding to make plans for a permanent housing prototype. The temporary homes are approximately 190 square feet and are fabricated with treated 4x4s and treated plywood. They are made with local labor under the supervision of a local foreman/supervisor and monitored by the CEDDISEC engineer, who conducts inspections. CEDDISEC has two trucks that deliver materials purchased in Port-au-Prince to the job sites.
The permanent homes will have reinforced concrete masonry, wood frames, metal skin roofs and contain 550-600 square feet. CEDDISEC also assist communities with sanitation, transportation, and micro-credit loans. The CEDDISEC staff work with local priests and local leaders in assessing and selecting housing candidates from among the most vulnerable.
Jimmy was very impressed with the CEDDISEC housing initiatives since they use local materials, local expertise, and local labor exclusively. They have an infrastructure in place to assess needs, using an all-Haitian staff which also vets housing recipients to see that criteria for qualification are met. Jimmy suggests that if we wish to proceed with housing support for Haiti that we explore working with CEDDISEC, and in our funding assistance recommend that CEDDISEC incorporate designs and location patterns as described in the Kreyol Living Wisdom to support traditional Haitian community development.