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Article 25 step in on Haiti disaster

Built environment charity Article 25 are consolidating their potential role in the reconstruction process of Haiti, following last week’s catastrophic events.

Throughout the aftermath of the event, Article 25 has been keen to emphasise the crucial role built environment skills will make when the reconstruction process begins. Efforts on the devastated Caribbean island to date have largely focused on emergency needs such as water, medical attention, and food. Only very recently it has been reported that the process of demolishing and clearing the remains of buildings has begun.

Mindful of the next stage of recovery, Article 25 are encouraging built environment professionals to take a forward-looking approach, and see their skills as contributing to the long-term development of the devastated country, not only in terms of physical buildings, but also building capacity in the local community. Echoing the comments of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), Article 25 recognise that although short-term relief is vital, this disaster is going to present ‘ongoing humanitarian challenges’i, presenting an opportunity to improve the long-term future of Haiti.

Chair of Article 25 and former president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Jack Pringle, comments: “We’re working with our partners to identify how our expertise can be applied to make the biggest difference in Haiti. Article 25 is preparing to take part in the reconstruction effort, ensuring skills are carefully applied to build back better, protecting lives in the face of future disasters. The key is to have the right technical skills in the right place at the right time”.

As in many disasters, it’s often not the earthquake that kills people, it’s the buildings. This is where Article 25’s agenda to build earthquake resistant buildings can help build resilience into Haiti’s future. Article 25 will be putting together a team of architects, engineers and surveyors to provide technical assistance wherever needed in the reconstruction effort in and around Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Article 25 are no strangers to post-earthquake reconstruction: in their award-winning seismically-resistant housing built in Pakistan following the 2005 earthquake, they saw firsthand the value of applying innovative and intelligent design expertise. Carefully designed and executed reconstruction of safer structures will not only reduce risk in the future, but also offer some security to those that have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods in the latest tragedy to befall Haiti. Article 25 would like to thank those built environment professionals and organisations who have come forward to offer their skills to the team, and encourage further interest particularly from French-speaking volunteers. To donate to the appeal, which will enable Article 25 to provide vitally needed building skills in Haiti, please go to www.justgiving.com/rebuildinghaiti

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