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Rebuilding Haiti

In the days since the earthquake in Haiti, numerous aid groups have opened up channels for contributions small and large to assist in the immediate needs of survivors in and around Port-au-Prince. From the sound of news reports, despite the fast action of governments and individuals around the world, the impact of aid so far pales in comparison to the devastation. Money and machines and hands are needed right away for triage, but we are also reminded by people like Cameron Sinclair of Architecture for Humanity that in crises like these, a long view is required and help will be needed long after the final death toll has been called.

An aerial view of an impoverished neighbourhood in Port-au-Prince demonstrates the extent of damage inflicted by the powerful earthquake that rocked the Haitian capital on 12 January.
13/Jan/2010. Port-au-Prince, Haiti. UN Photo/Logan Abassi. www.un.org/a
An aerial view of an impoverished neighbourhood in Port-au-Prince demonstrates the extent of damage inflicted by the powerful earthquake that rocked the Haitian capital on 12 January. 13/Jan/2010. Port-au-Prince, Haiti. UN Photo/Logan Abassi. www.un.org/av/photo/

In an article on The Huffington Post this morning, Sinclair explains that after a disaster, "the second disaster that looms is the efficiency and impact of the three R's—Response, Recovery and Reconstruction." As exemplified in the post-Katrina fiasco, lack of planning and organization in these three areas results in further tragedy. AFH is working with the Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group and Yele Haiti (a non-profit founded by Wyclef Jean) to make sure that the materials, temporary structures, and reconstruction plans befit Haiti's situation and people.

As with their work in Sri Lanka after the tsunami and Biloxi after the hurricanes, the mission of this endeavor is a rebuilding approach that makes Port-au-Prince stronger and safer for the future. They are accepting donations at this time for the project (and many other organizations including the Red Cross and UNICEF are also calling for funds), and once the initial relief process has made progress, those of you who like to get your hands dirty will surely have the opportunity to help AFH on the ground as so many architects, designers and students have done in the past.

Image: United Nations Photostream on Flickr

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