Leading architect John McAslan has this week flown in to Haiti to spearhead rebuilding plans for the earthquake-devastated island.
He has proposed rebuilding the most ravaged parts of the capital Port-au-Prince on flat ground outside the existing city.
McAslan has been involved with Haiti for a number of years through his work with former US president Bill Clinton’s international development charity the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).
McAslan said the worst affected part of the capital would have been in the suburb of Pétionville, which is located on the deforested hillsides to the south east of the capital Port-au-Prince.
“The shacks have all collapsed − one on top of the other. It could be an idea to rebuild outside the existing city on flat ground,” he told NCE.
“We could rebuild outside the existing city on flat ground.”
McAslan was speaking ahead of the international Haiti Donors Conference in Quebec aimed at reviewing and improving the delivery of short-term aid as well as charting a course for a sustained recovery.
At the conference US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said the Haitian government must play a vital role in the long-term recovery of the island.
“The government of Haiti must and will be in the lead,” she said. “We cannot be making decisions for people and their futures without listening, and without giving them the opportunity to be as involved and make as many decisions as possible.”
Haitian prime minister Jean- Max Bellerive said his government was “ready to relaunch the country on the path to reconstruction”.
“The government of Haiti must and will be in the lead. We can’t make decisions for people without listening.”
Participating countries agreed in a joint statement that “an initial 10-year commitment is essential” to provide a clear picture of how Haiti should be rebuilt to minimise the impact of a similar natural disaster in the future.
The US will host an international donor conference in March at the United Nations in New York to detail spending.
Oxfam executive director Robert Fox warned against moving too quickly to begin the reconstruction.
“If we move too quickly, we fall into the trap of rebuilding the Haiti that existed two weeks ago. The Haiti that existed two weeks ago we do not want to rebuild. It was a country of inequality, and of poor infrastructure,” he said.
RedR to begin year-long relief programme
Emergency relief agency RedR said this week that it expects to rollout a year-long programme with Bioforce to support the disaster relief organisations in the disasterstruck capital of Haiti, Port-au- Prince.
Its initial assessment team will leave for Haiti on Tuesday, to return on 18 February. “It will be a fact-finding mission with agencies to identify priority needs,” said RedR cluster projects coordinator Cheryl McDonald.
“Immediate concerns will be issues like water, sanitation, health, waste management, shelter and camp management.
“The initial plan will be for the coming two months, with a longer term plan looking to support aid work for 9-12 months,” she said.
Around six international RedR staff will eventually be based in Haiti. They will work with local support staff in what is provisionally titled as the Disaster Response Support Service. The group may share services with agencies Sphere, HAP and People in Aid to maximise resources.
The team will focus on the worst affected areas - Port-au-Prince, Carrefour and Jacmel.