safeguarding cultural heritage, social and architectural wooden houses in Cuba

Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Culturel, Social et Architectural des Maisons en Bois de Cuba

Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Culturel, Social et Architectural des Maisons en Bois de Cuba

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Report of activities carried out by CAMAHA mission in Haiti, July 2010
Wednesday, 11 August 2010 13:30

LEOGANE, August 4th , 2010 :

Progress of ACTED mission (construction of 2000 transition shelters):

-         The situation has started to change, the construction materials and the equipment have been arriving and are at our disposal in situ, there are 225 m3 of timber stored at the construction site.

-         A 15-kilowatt power generator was installed, and we have a circular saw, a pendular saw and a radial saw, as well as screwdrivers and tools.

-         We have started to form the working parties for carving, assembling and preparation of the kits for the workshop.

Training in the use of electric tools because all the professionals we have hired lack of the necessary training to operate this type of tools.

- Organization of working parties leaded by:

- Carving: One foreman who supervises 4 operators and 3 carpenters responsible for mounting the corbels, few drillings and the assembling; 3 laborers are in charge of the supplies.

- To assemble the board walls:

- One foreman who supervises 7 carpenters which are assisted by 7 laborers responsible for the assembling of the board walls and other structures.

- To prepare the kits: One leader and 8 laborers under his supervision, which will be charge of preparing the kits, the preassembled skeletons, metal sheets, boards, belts and ironworks.

The preparation of the ironwork packages and the cutting of the canvas which will be used to protect the houses from the water.

-         The dispatch of the kits and the receipt of materials.

-         A coordinator of logistics (building work supervisor) is responsible for the construction site,

All the information will be sent to him

The management documents and the requests to be prepared, the control of the staff,

The amount of kits which have been made and delivered, and the data of the beneficiaries

He must send all the information to the chief of mission.

- Regarding the distribution and mounting of the houses:

It has been planned to build 20 houses per day, that is why, it will be necessary that the working parties assemble 20 houses per day, since there is a risk to block the system because there is no room to store the kits.

It will be necessary to have one building-work supervisor and a “marshal” – in charge of all the formalities and arguments with the beneficiaries. HARD JOB! – to hoist 4 houses at the same time and at the same perimeter.

The beneficiaries have the leading roles; they are in charge of building their own houses under the supervision of the specialist.

-          On this matter: I recommended ACTED to assign a real specialist for house because despite of the simplicity of the project and the work as such, a professional is needed.

-         In my humble opinion, their problems have not ended yet!

By the end of August, the dreamed system should be self-managed, and then the coordinator of logistics will finally take my place

- The continuity of our contract for ACTED will be in Port-au-Prince where it is planned to build 2 prefabrication workshops of the same kind with 1250 houses each

- Precautions:

After the visit of our president, Mr. Pierre Hervé (July 20-24), which purpose was to prepare the folder to present us as an NGO to the Haitian Government:

- The file was presented to the UCAONG, administrative body in charge of the process and from which we are expecting a reply soon

- A bank account was opened for that purpose

- The rental of a house is being negotiated, which has enough room to install a workshop where modular structures can be produce for the construction of schools, orphanages, hospitals, etc.

- Also, in a short time we are expecting the visit of a specialist on the design of buildings to withstand earthquakes, always within the framework of ACTED, who will need our help assessing the concrete houses that did not suffer any damage and need a consolidation.

This assessment – known as retrofitting – is the reinforcement of a room in the house with wood that withstand earthquakes to ensure maximum security to the owners in case of an earthquake (like the one yesterday night)

- He will also be responsible for the training of specialists on the laws and techniques of the construction to withstand earthquakes and retrofitting

- An assistant – future engineer from a French wood school – is also expected to start working within the next few weeks and help us with the works, and the many and diverse meetings – fact that will relieve our highly great load of work. Welcome!

- There is no argument about the need of renting a house with all the utilities included such as electricity, power generator, water, security (Port-au-Prince is still a very dangerous place in spite of a regular quietness), etc. … and the purchase or rental of a vehicle with a driver since without the knowledge of a native person, it is extremely difficult to move around no-man's-land that is Port-au-Prince, with heavy traffic jams, roads closed by the rubble, etc.

Social situation:

-         Despite of a heavy rainy season, the social situation is rather calm, however there are some demonstrations in favor as well as against President Préval, the driver's union, the NGOs, in short, nothing too important.

It seems that the World Cup has eased the tension.

-         The most important period of the hurricane season has not arrived yet, the most devastating events are expected in September, and according the paths of previous hurricanes, the Port-au-Prince Golf is in the middle of their way.

- To be continued...

Bruno Panis, Chief of Mission “Camaha of Cuba for Haiti”