Building Back Better in Haiti

A house built by ACT members in Haiti still standing after the August 2021 earthquake. Photo: ACT Haiti Forum
A house built by ACT members in Haiti still standing after the August 2021 earthquake. Photo: ACT Haiti Forum

As the ACT Haiti Forum have worked to bring life-saving relief to communities impacted by the August 14 earthquake, they uncovered some excellent news about the work done by ACT members after the Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

ACT members constructed about 100 houses for families who lost their homes in the hurricane and repaired more than a thousand, and as needs assessment teams have visited those communities, they have found that every house that they visited which was built and repaired by ACT members is still standing and looks to be structurally sound.

“We are really proud that we did a really good job in this situation,” said Prospery Raymond, the convenor of the ACT Haiti Forum.  “All the houses that we have seen since the earthquake that we built are still standing.”

“Some neighbours went to those houses, and put their children in those houses, because they felt safe in them in the first days after the earthquake,” he continued.  “They were confident in those houses.  They became points of safety for the community in those first days.”

The ACT Forum is already working hard to support the communities impacted by the August 14 quake, and plans to use the same housing design for rebuilding strong homes that they used after Hurricane Matthew.

“As we have a good model already, that has received certification from the state and aligned with local customs, that means that as soon as we have the resources, we can move forward rebuild faster- the construction will be better.”

In addition to having an engineer design stronger houses, the ACT reconstruction took advantage of a few other things: they made sure strong foundations were built for the houses, which was unusual in the area at the time.  They also worked with families to find the best place on their property to build the home, and used international standards in the mix of cement and sand used to make the materials.  All of these factors helped to produce houses which remained standing after the powerful earthquake in August.

The ACT Haiti Forum is already distributing shelter and hygiene kits, and is providing safe water to communities.

More information on the ACT response can be found in the ACT Appeal here.

“The situation is still very critical,” Prospery concluded. “There are more than 800,000 people living in very difficult situations.  People are living outside their houses, in the rain, because their houses are cracked and collapsed.  We need some support in order to help those people to survive this difficult situation. We will provide support with transparency and respecting the tradition and local customs.”

To donate to support ACT’s work in Haiti to help families and communities to build back better, please inform the Director of Operations, Nancy Etté and Head of Humanitarian Affairs, Niall O’Rourke with a copy to the Finance Officer, Marjorie Schmidt.