Building back better after disaster

News and Press Release
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Published: 11 May 2011 14:30 CET

Guiteau Jean-Pierre, Executive Director, Haitian National Red Cross Society, says it is important to create a sustainable approach to disaster recovery.

“In Haiti, the Red Cross Red Crescent network delivered 9,000 housing units enabling the local population to move back into their communities,” said Guiteau Jean-Pierre, Executive Director, Haitian National Red Cross Society. “After a disaster, providing a safe space so populations can move back into their communities and help rebuild them early in the recovery phase is key. It ensures local involvement and the delivery of local solutions.”

Mr. Jean-Pierre shared these insights at the third session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, a major UN gathering of disaster risk reduction leaders from the scientific, academic, political, economic, legal, civil, governmental and private sector entities, taking place in Geneva this week.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and 20 of its member National Societies attended the Global Platform to share their experiences in support of the event’s main theme: ‘Investing today for a safer tomorrow, increasing investment in local action.’ With more than 13 million volunteers worldwide contributing to community resilience building and disaster response, the Red Cross Red Crescent network was able to offer deep insights on local recovery, response and resilience building strategies.

“After the earthquake last January, building alliances with partners was critical to strengthening local recovery,” said Mr. Jean-Pierre. “For example, partners helped train local engineers in assessing buildings for safety standards. This was the first time this happened in the history of our country. Then the government developed building codes. These were all important steps to ensuring that Haitian communities continue to build back better.”

Disaster risk reduction is a critical part of the IFRC’s approach to development. Read more in the IFRC’s position paper on the Red Cross Red Crescent approach to sustainable development.