New Homes for Quake-Hit Haitian Families

More than 150 families left homeless by the 2010 earthquake took possession of their new permanent homes in Habitat for Humanity’s Santo community in Leogane, 18 miles west of Port-au-Prince and considered to be the epicenter of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake.

“This is an exciting day for the partner families, Habitat for Humanity, donors, partners, volunteers and supporters who have made this all possible,” said Mark Andrews, vice president of Haiti recovery for Habitat for Humanity International. “Together, we have built a new community that will bring lasting hope, health and well-being to these families for years and generations to come.”

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The Leogane development has the potential to house up to 500 families, or approximately 2,500 individuals. To date, 155 homes have been constructed thanks to Santo project donors, including the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank, donors and volunteers of Habitat’s 28th annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project, and volunteers from Haven, an Irish non-profit. Partner families contributed more than 150 hours of “sweat equity” to help build their homes.

Habitat plans to construct another 100 houses this year when the Carter Work Project returns to Haiti. More houses will be constructed, pending additional funding. It was announced Wednesday, Feb. 15.

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In addition to a new home, each family has their own compost latrine and has access to clean water at one of the 14 water points constructed throughout the development. Solar-powered street lighting is also provided. As part of the multi-year project, the plan is to provide needed services, including a community and health center, a school, church and safe play areas.

The earthquake damaged nearly 190,000 houses in Haiti, of which 105,000 were completely destroyed. Of the more than 2 million affected survivors, 550,000 are still displaced, according to the International Organization for Migration.

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Rakesh Raman