New study examines housing construction in Haiti (or lack thereof)

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Damaged home receiving professional repair in 2011, photo Roger Annis

An article in the March 21 edition of the Haitian daily Le Nouvelliste provides a disturbing look at the lack of action and direction in rebuilding neighbourhoods in Port au Prince damaged or destroyed by the earthquake. The article looks at a specific neighbourhood and is titled, 'Chaotic reconstruction: The case of Villa Rosa.' The full article in French can be read on the CHAN website French language archive, here. Below is a translation of the concluding section of the article.

The article is the latest of several articles recently produced by the newly-created Fund for Investigative Journalism and published in Le Nouvelliste.--Website editors

... "The work of rebuilding neighbourhoods is still at the reflection stage," admits Alfred Piard, Director of the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communication of Haiti. "A map of the dangers in each locale is being prepared."

In other words, more than two years following the destructive earthquake, the Haitian state has yet to even identify the most dangerous zones. It is increasingly badly placed to preach anything to the international community which it has criticized for not delivering promised aid funds quickly enough.

This state, whose duty is to assure the coordination of projects and provide some direction, is short on ideas. Indeed, more that 100 million dollars are available in the account of the Haiti Reconstruction Fund (HRF). But directors are still waiting for requests from the Haitian government for the financing of projects...

Josef Leitmann, the director of the HRF, affirms that of the 396 million dollars delivered to the Fund by the internationalcommunity, 275 million have been allocated to 17 projects. "In the beginning, the government insisted that projects be approved by the Interim Haiti Reconstruciton Commission, but considering that this body no longer exists, this job is left to the office of the prime minister."

Mr. Leitmann is worried that for the past seven months, since August 2011, no financing request has been made by the Haitian state. "The money is there to finance reconstruction but there are no formal proposals by the Haitian state," he sighs. "While we wait, the money sits in a bank and is not allocated in the citizen's interest. That's nothing to be proud of." (End of article)