Engineers and architects were this week preparing to accelerate the recovery effort in earthquakehit Haiti.
British-based architect John McAslan and Partners (JMP) and Dutch water-specialist Arcardis have set up teams that have gone, or will soon go, to aid reconstruction.
The country is still recovering from January’s magnitude 7 earthquake that killed 220,000 people and left hundreds of thousands injured and homeless.
And this weekend it was announced that 253 people had died from an outbreak of cholera within the week, mostly in the Artibonite region of central Haiti, north of the country’s earthquake-devastated capital Port-au-Prince.
Arcadis subsidiary Malcolm Pirnie has been working with two communities in Port-au-Prince through United Nations agency UN Habitat to help develop fixed water systems. In the Bristout-Bobin district, a slum with a population of 15,000, water is currently delivered by truck. Arcadis is
working to develop a local water committee with the eventual aim of providing a fixed water system connected to the main grid.
“Water costs 2.5 cents (1.6p) per five US gallons (3.8l) in a fixed system but costs 10 times as much when it is delivered by truck,” said consultant Malcolm Pirnie water engineer Stéphane Jousset. “At that price it’s unaffordable.”
The firm is also working on fixing a pumping station serving the Dicayette district, which already has a simple gravity-based water system.
Five Malcolm Pirnie engineers have just returned from Haiti and another team will go out in November to help reconstruction efforts.
Meanwhile, JMP and US-based contractor Turner Construction, are restoring the Iron Market (Marché de Fer) in the centre of Port-au-Prince. The market has been singled out for reconstruction as it was a key trading centre and is seen as a priority for stimulating the economy. Port-au-Prince mayor Jean Yves Jason and the Haitian equivalent of English Heritage ISPAN are supporting the scheme, which is being funded privately.
The original building was fabricated in Paris and erected in Port-au-Prince in the 1880s.
It was split into a north and south market hall with a tower with four minarets in the middle. The north hall was severely damaged by fire in 2008 but the whole building was subsequently damaged by the quake.
JMP has been helping to inspect the structure. The north side has been completely restored using steel fabricated in the United States.
The central tower has now been cleaned up and propped using concrete bases.
“It’s so difficult constructing in Haiti,” said JMP head of initiatives Andy Miera. “There’s no functioning infrastructure and everyone is suffering from the psychological effects of so many deaths.”