"Positive momentum" for Haiti’s post-earthquake rebuild
Port-au-Prince – Over the past year, over 1 million cubic metres of debris have been cleared from the earthquake-ravaged streets here, but the task of rebuilding is far from over.
Heraldo Muñoz, chief of Latin America and the Carribbean for the United Nations Development Programme said “change is tangible in the streets” during a tour of the country’s post-earthquake rebuilding efforts.
“It’s clear there’s positive momentum for reconstruction,” Muñoz said after visiting UNDP-led projects and meeting Haiti’s President Michel Martelly.
In Morne à Tuff, a commercial downtown Port-au-Prince neighborhood where uninhabitable earthquake-damaged buildings are being demolished, Muñoz noted the many obstacles in reaching parts of the city, one of the key challenges for rubble removal and reconstruction after the January 2010 earthquake.
In the neighbouhood of St. Gerard, on the outskirts of the Haitian capital, Muñoz visited a UNDP-led debris management project that has mobilized local residents to recycle debris into raw material for reconstruction.
He witnessed a training session on techniques to produce concrete paving blocks and tiles as well as bricks of sand and gravel. The workshop also provides training on management and microbusiness creation to help boost entrepreneurship in Haiti.
“I’m proud that this project, which brings together local authorities, neighborhood residents and civil society, is encouraging job-creation while clearing millions of cubic metres of debris from the streets of Port-au-Prince, keeping Haitians and their communities at the centre of reconstruction efforts.”
UNDP coordinates the reconstruction efforts of local and international non-governmental organizations and other UN agencies working in Haiti.
Wrapping up the two-day visit in a meeting with Martelly, Muñoz discussed strengthening the rule of law and supporting efforts to enhance Haiti’s capacity to respond to its citizens’ needs, for example, through civil servant training.