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CLEANing Away Problems and Rebuilding Lives for Haiti’s Earthquake Survivors

Published 07/21/2011 by Global Communities

CLEANing Away Problems and Rebuilding Lives for Haiti’s Earthquake Survivors
I had lived in that house for many years and was tired of being reduced to looking at debris for all of these past months, unable to do anything about it, while my family members were scattered here and there,” said Yves Gerard.
Married with four children, Yves Gerard and his family were forced to leave their home after it was de-stroyed by the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. For nearly 30 years he had lived in the neighborhood of Canapé-Vert, only to be displaced to the province after losing his home. With nostalgia, Yves describes the home he had to leave as a “beautiful modern house.”
His nostalgia had turned to frustration as his efforts to demolish and clear his home proved fruitless. “The first organization required that I pay 150,000 gourdes ($3,750) to de-molish my home and then, another group asked 100,000 gourdes ($2,500),” recounted Yves. “You can understand that my house and property could never be cleared on my own because, in addition to depriving me of my house, the earthquake affected me economically. So, I had to wait over a year, when all of my hopes had flown away, to benefit from the CLEAN program, which finally solved my problem,” he said. 
Funded by USAID, CHF‘s CLEAN program (Clearing Land to Provide Accessible Neighborhoods) is demolishing destroyed and severely damaged buildings and clearing the rubble, allowing for the reconstruction of shelters, infrastructure and essential services. Through this program, CHF intends to not only to help families, but also facilitate future reconstruction efforts in Haiti by revitalizing neighborhoods affected by the earthquake.
CLEAN is currently operating in several areas of Port-au-Prince, including Carrefour, Del-mas, Tabarre, Turgeau, and Canapé-Vert. CLEAN targets the removal of 262,000 cubic meters of rubble, about 60% of which (158,431 cubic meters) has been cleared to date. More than 560 beneficiary houses have been registered, while 288 buildings benefiting 1,440 people have been demolished.
“I’ve been married 12 years and I have lived in this house since the day of my wedding and today, it is no longer,” laments Mr. Paul Claude. At 46 years old and a father to three children, he and his family lived in a split-level, modest house in Lamantin 54, a neighbor-hood in Carrefour before it was destroyed by last year’s earthquake.
His eldest child, a daughter of eight years old, died during the earthquake. “Since the death of my daughter, I am not in my normal state of mind. I experienced a difficult time with the loss of my beloved daughter and it is the hardest thing I’ve experienced. In regard to housing, we spent several months sleeping in the street. I have had moments of ups and downs with my youngest son, who was only a few months old when we lost our home. I had to go to doctors very often with him because he was too small and weak to be sleeping on the streets. Finally, I had to find a few pieces of metal to make a shelter on my property because it was safer for the children,” said Mr. Paul-Claude.
Like many other heads of household in the same situation, Paul Claude did not have the resources to demolish and clear his collapsed house and then to build a shelter that would provide security for his family. “Today, using the CLEAN program, my house is demolished and cleared,” meaning he can start focusing on building a new home for himself and his family.