As mentioned previously, I’m taking a class with Christian Werthmann about disaster relief in Haiti. It’s a great class but also very frustrating as Haiti is one of the most difficult places to work as an NGO or educational institution.
Below is part of my proposal for Canaan, a tent city which developed outside Port au Prince. Currently Canaan lacks almost all basic services including drinking water provision, sanitary sewer or septic, and electricity. It can also be assumed that the area has a shortage of cooking fuels similar to other areas of Haiti. Beyond resources the area also lacks important permanent institutions such as schools and medical clinics. Current NGO efforts seem to focus primarily on housing provision (including school, church, and medical buildings) through Un techo para mi Pais and providing solar electricity to residents through Powering Hope. Both organizations and their partnering institutions such as Medical Teams International and Canaan Christian Community have been active in the area since shortly after the earthquake with continuous shelter constructions from UTMP and fundraising / experimentation for a solar array anticipated in June 2012 from PH.
It seems as if little attention, however, has been paid to the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation. According to amateur videos shot in Canaan residents purchase water from water trucks which is similar or perhaps identical to the system prevalent in Port au Prince. Rather than continuing this costly process perhaps a soft infrastructure can be designed to provide safe drinking water, gray water, and even irrigation water.
This project proposes a retaining wall system composed of gabions, a water filtration system, and storage tanks to address the lack of potable water in Canaan. The walls will also be effective in controlling further erosion of the site.