UNDP Associate Administrator visits Leogane debris management project

14 Feb 2011

Leogane, Haiti - Rebeca Grynspan, UNDP Associate Administrator today visited Leogane – the epicentre of the 12 January earthquake – where UNDP is implementing a pioneering debris management initiative.  Thanks to the support of the Canadian, Kuwait and Finnish governments, UNDP started in early-November 2010,  a project  which will clear in 2011 approximately 325,000 cubic metres from priority areas selected by local stakeholders. This community-based approach allows people living in IDP camps to select specific places as starting points for rubble removal thus working towards cleaning these areas to allow for a  safe return to their old neighborhoods.

'It is remarkable to see how - by putting people, communities, local governments and  NGOs  together -  this project has already managed to remove 87,000 cubic metres of rubble from 17 selected neighbourhoods' said Ms Grynspan as she talked to some of the  380 workers  from the Mapou Dampus project site.   "This initiative in Leogane is the essence of  UNDP's mandate in recovery, putting people and their communities at the centre of the reconstruction efforts. One year after the earthquake, we are now in the transition from the humanitarian phase to development, finding ways to rebuild Haiti stronger and better," she added.

Besides contributing to the economic recovery of the community and the strategy of return,  the project also aims to reinforce the capacity of the local authorities to supervise the ongoing work  so that the municipality of Leogane can take ownership to oversee and coordinate NGO interventions and reconstruction of the region.

According to Alexis Santos, mayor of Leogane, 10 months after the earthquake nothing significant had been done to remove and manage the debris in the town until the launch of UNDP’s project.  “Only UNDP has offered to support the municipality in strengthening its capacity to become a leader and coordinator”, he wrote in a letter sent to UNDP on 31 January.”The progress made in the past two months was very significant and has opened the path for Leogane’s reconstruction.”

To date, 1,640 workers have been temporarily employed to remove rubble and  240 damaged houses  demolished using a combination of heavy machinery and high intensive labour activities. So far, 87,000 cubic metres of debris have been taken to a special site for stockpiling and treatment, where at a later stage, workers will also sort, crush and dispose of debris following technical and environmental specifications. The same site will host a recycling centre that will use some of the debris to produce paving blocks for road repairs, creating longer term and sustainable job opportunities for the local population and contributing to the economic recovery of the region.

Contact Information

Mariana Nissen
+509  370 259 30  

Frances Kinnon
+509 360 98 612