It seems there is hope for Haiti! I’ve been impressed with what I’ve read about President elect Michel Martelly, especially his emphasis on “permanent, prefabricated homes”.
Martelly inherits a massive housing & humanitarian problem, to be sure. Based on my experience with SIPS and concrete block construction in the Caribbean, I believe Martelly can choose either fast or permanent, but not both – and definitely not in his first 100 days.
The answer is Ferrocement. My company, am-cor inc., has developed a proposal which would allow Martelly to permanently house:
- 100,000 people
- in 100 days
- for US $69/person
All using truly safe hurricane & earthquake proof construction, in the form of Ferrocement housing Kits.
Our proposal has two phases:
- Phase 1: Emergency Shelter
- Phase 2: Haiti FerroFacility
Phase 1: Emergency Shelter
This phase focusses on allowing inhabitants of the “tent cities” to move into permanent, beautiful housing before the coming hurricane season. To my knowledge, there is no building system has proven to be as fast, safe, and disaster-resistant as the am‑cor System – and can accomplish all this for a base cost of $69/person.
The government of Haiti will be able to move refugees into beautiful, hurricane & earthquake resistant dwellings immediately. These building Kits will be shipped in containers from the USA to Haiti, where local Haitians will quickly and cheaply put them up, using local materials.
Ramping up for site assembly won’t be a problem, as our program includes training Haitians to assemble their own houses! In one morning, we can teach a crew of Haitians who have never worked in construction before (men, women & teenagers) how to put up their own am‑cor Kit. Yes, it’s that easy!
Phase 2: Haiti FerroFacility
Our proposal’s second, long-term phase provides a local am‑cor FerroFacility. There are 3 key components:
- The Haitian FerroFacility will be Haitian owned & operated, spurring local investment, entrepreneurship, and keeping wealth in Haiti!
- Approximately 280 jobs for Haitians will be directly created by the FerroFacility, and approximately 2000 jobs will be created in associated industries (on site Kit assembly, finishing, etc.)
- Self-determination: Use of the am‑cor System provides normal, untrained Haitians with sustainable jobs, a disaster-resistant infrastructure, and most importantly a sense of independence.
The 2010 Haitian earthquake demonstrated the need for a sustainable, distributed infrastructure. For example, Haitians should not rely on a single source for access to clean water and electricity.
Our proposal includes complete “off-grid” systems for each community. In the event of earthquake, hurricanes, or floods, each community will still have clean water, electricity, hot water, safe sewage, etc., provided by:
- water catchment
- solar power generation (photovoltaics)
- solar powered water purification
- solar powered wastewater treatment
It’s hard to quantify the benefits to a community, when members join together and become involved in building their own safe structures. I’ve written about the unifying effect of building with the am‑cor System, first in Tornado Alley in Oklahoma, USA, and then in hurricane-prone Jamaica, West Indies.
Bringing this experience of hope to Haiti, literally “Building Haiti Together”, will benefit the Haitian community as much as the earthquake-proof homes will!