Though progress in Haiti following the Jan. 12 earthquake is becoming increasingly visible, significant aid for the estimated 1.3 million displaced Haitians is still largely needed, most notably in the form of shelter.
The American Red Cross alone has spent $111 million in the three months following the disaster, with approximately 39 percent of that money spent on emergency shelter needs.
Unlike other spending needs that slowly decrease once long-term relief efforts begin, the American Red Cross estimates the percentage of money allocated to shelter will remain at 39 percent over the next three to five years.
With the need for shelter still dominant in the relief efforts, Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross, with support from CARE, recently announced the assembly of an additional 13,000 emergency shelter kits, headed to Haiti to aid displaced families.
The kits include materials like tarps, utility wire and tools, due to arrive and be distributed ahead of the rainy season peak in May. With an additional 8,500 kits that were already assembled in February, the 21,000 kits will help more than 100,000 displaced survivors.
“Shelter is one of the greatest needs in Haiti, especially with the rainy season upon us,” says Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “We are so pleased to be partnering with Habitat for Humanity in order to provide basic, temporary shelter for people who lost so much as a result of the earthquake.”
Temporary shelters built for recycling
More than 1 million people now live in temporary shelters in the Port-au-Prince area, with an estimated 600,000 others having left to seek shelter elsewhere in Haiti.
With tens of thousands of temporary shelters in use or being shipped to Haiti for future use, the question of waste must be thought of long-term. When rebuilding efforts begin, are the temporary shelters discarded or rendered obsolete? Just the opposite in fact.
According to Habitat for Humanity, the transitional shelters can be upgraded into permanent shelter or their materials recycled into components of a permanent shelter. Habitat is also assisting families remove and salvage recyclable debris from home sites as well as fix homes with repairable damage, decreasing the amount of waste associated with construction and debris (C&D).
American companies like Independence Recycling of Florida (IRF) have been working on plans to provide mobile crushing and screening plants to Port-au-Prince to recycle earthquake debris for use in new construction, reports American Recycler.
According to IRF, one mobile crusher can process between 1,800 and 2,400 tons of concrete per day and between 3,000 to 4,000 tons of asphalt per day, able to be reused in new construction. This type of C&D recycling may just prove the most useful for an island nation where construction material imports are highly expensive.