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07.12.10

AT SIX-MONTH ANNIVERSARY OF HUGE EARTHQUAKE, PADF CONTINUES REBUILDING SHATTERED LIVES IN HAITI

PADF-OAS-HUFH URGE CONTINUED FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Washington, D.C. – During the six months since the Western Hemisphere's worst natural disaster, the Pan American Development Foundation and its partners assisted more than 1.3 million Haitians, as well as strengthened vital community organizations and coordinated with the government to ensure long-term success of on-the-ground recovery efforts. (http://www.imunitedforhaiti.org/)

"We are proud of our achievements but we are reminded that more than a million Haitians are still homeless and urgently need help," says Jimmy Jean-Louis, the actor and spokesperson for PADF's recovery efforts in Haiti. "Please visit http://www.imunitedforhaiti.org/ to learn what we have been doing to improve their lives."

PADF and its partners Hollywood Unites for Haiti (HUFH) and the Organization of American States (OAS) immediately responded to the survivors' needs by providing food, water, shelter, medicine and other supplies. Thanks to individual, corporate and multilateral cash and in-kind donations, they distributed more than 200 tons of supplies worth over $3 million since the Jan. 12 earthquake.

In addition to relief supplies, PADF employed thousands of Haitians to clear rubble from streets and alleys, clean drainage canals and remove other debris choking neighborhoods.

To learn more about specific relief efforts, please visit http://www.imunitedforhaiti.org/ for stories and videos.

"We are focusing our efforts on implementing a strategic recovery plan, which is one of PADF's specialties," says John Sanbrailo, PADF's Executive Director. "This means moving people out of camps into safe homes, creating sustainable employment and ensuring that Haitians play a major role in the rebuilding of their country."

"Tagging" & repairing homes

PADF is helping Haitians to return home by certifying that their houses are safe. It has trained 100 Haitian structural engineers to evaluate homes, schools and other buildings to determine how safe they are. Since May, the engineers have "tagged" 35,000 buildings in three categories: A "green" tag means a structure is perfectly safe; a "yellow" tag indicates it is useable but requires some repair; and a "red" tag states the building must be repaired or demolished before it can be used.

By the end of July, the engineers will tag 50,000 buildings in Port-au-Prince, which will benefit more than 125,000 Haitians. The six-month program is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

"Moving Haitians out of camps and overcrowded dwellings into safe homes is one of our highest priorities, particularly since we are in the hurricane season," says Sanbrailo. "Haitians are understandably afraid to return to buildings that may collapse. These inspections will give them the certainty they need."

Repairing the yellow-tagged buildings is a major challenge for Haiti, particularly since both homeowners and the people they hire are probably unaware of building standards in an earthquake zone.

Working closely with Haiti's Public Works Department and under the supervision of U.S. structural engineer and post-earthquake expert Kit Miyamoto, PADF's tagging project includes hands-on training of construction workers and architects prior to working on the yellow- and red-tagged homes. In addition to brochures and manuals, four model homes have been set up to demonstrate the common repairs they will undertake.

"This puts into action the ‘build-better' concept that we all desire," says Sanbrailo.

PADF's project has a small amount of money that will be used to repair a limited number of homes.

"We appreciate USAID's foresight and generous support," says Sanbrailo. "Only with its support could PADF undertake this massive and much-needed project."

However, Sanbrailo notes that this funding needs to be supplemented by donations from individuals and companies.

To learn more about earthquake-damaged buildings in Haiti and how PADF is tagging them, please visit http://www.imunitedforhaiti.org/ to see a video with Kit Miyamoto.

Protecting the most vulnerable

PADF's successful, three-year-old Protecting Human Rights (PHR) program has expanded its scope to focus on the needs of the most-vulnerable Haitians, particularly those in the camps.

PADF brought together its grassroots partners and provided them with training and additional resources to meet the post-earthquake challenges. Together, they are providing psychological support, medical care, safe housing and legal aid to the victims of violence and exploitation. It is funded by USAID.

Trafficking of women and children, which has been a serious problem in Haiti, was exacerbated after the earthquake. PADF has expanded its anti-trafficking program to cover more communities, including rural areas and the border.

One Haitian NGO in Petit-Goâve praised PADF for its anti-trafficking work and the need to expand the program.

"Following the Jan. 12th quake, several families gave their children to the ‘highest bidder,' fearing the worst for their sons and daughters," said Jocelyn Jean, the secretary general of ASIDEP, on July 2. "However, in the rural areas where [PADF] trained the communities on [anti-trafficking in persons], the children are still living with their families."

To learn more about PADF's PHR program, please visit http://www.imunitedforhaiti.org/ for stories and videos.
Communities deciding their future

Involving Haitians – especially the poorest – in the post-earthquake economic redevelopment process is a key element in PADF's reconstruction strategy.

One of PADF's largest and most-successful programs teaches communities to prioritize, selected and monitor projects that directly affect their quality of life. Called Community Driven Development, it provides grants to start the selected projects.

Today, PADF is working with more than 360 community-based organizations in 14 Haitian districts—all located in some of the poorest areas—that have identified or are operating in excess of 700 sustainable projects. Now in its third year, PADF implements the program on behalf of the Haitian government. It is funded by the World Bank.

How to help

Actor Jimmy Jean-Louis, who is originally from Haiti, returned to the island on July 9 to survey the situation and encourage continued donations from individuals and companies to support the rebuilding process.

"The suffering of my fellow countrymen is no longer front-page news, but it is still very much a reality," he says. "It's unimaginable that Haitians have to live under tarps, bed sheets and even pieces of cardboard. With your help, they can have a dignified life in a safe home."

Individual and corporate donations to PADF-OAS-HUFH's Haiti recovery efforts are encouraged by visiting http://www.imunitedforhaiti.org/.

In the United States, people may call (877) 572-4484 to donate with a Visa or MasterCard. They may also text HEAL to 50555 to donate $5.




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2009 Hollywood Unites For Haiti