In Dame Marie in Haiti, damaged roofs meet qualified "bosses"

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In Grande Anse, the (International Organization for Migration (IOM) project funded by the Directorate General of Civil Protection and European Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is helping to repair roofs damaged by Hurricane Matthew as well as train carpenters in para-cyclonic construction techniques. We met Renaud while he was repairing the house of Illusse in Dame Marie.

Dame Marie, in the Grande Anse Department in Haiti, June 13, 2017, Renaud works on a roof. Concentrated and with a cap on his head, he hammers the metal sheet. Illusse, 55, seller, mother of 8 children and grandmother of 4 grandchildren, smiles. In 4 days, the roof of her house will be new. Eight months ago when Hurricane Matthew[1] hit the town of Dame Marie, Illusse's house was badly damaged.

Lesly Noel, 12, one of Illusse's grandsons remembers "_A tree fell on the house. We were inside when this happened. The roof was destroyed. We were very scared. The wind was blowing strongly. The rain was pouring. After the hurricane, we took refuge at the local high school. __We stayed there for a month before returning here. _"

Illusse received one of the 819[2] roof repair kits [3] distributed to date. "_IOM has given me sheets, wood, nails and binding wires for the repair of my roof._"

This project, co-financed by the Directorate General of Civil Protection and European Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), will enable IOM and its partners to repair 1,800 houses in the Communes of Dame Marie, Chambellan and Moron in the Department of Grande Anse, one of the areas most affected by Hurricane Matthew.

The beneficiary families were chosen on the basis of high vulnerability criteria (roof of the house destroyed between 75% and 100%, in a very precarious situation: single-parent family, pregnant women, handicap situation, etc.).

Renaud, the "boss" carpenter who repairs Illusse’s roof is now on the ground. In front of the neighborhood children’s amused eyes, he cuts the metal sheet. Renaud is one of 220[4] "boss" carpenters trained by IOM in para-cyclonic roof construction techniques. Like his other colleagues, Renaud is aware of the risk zones that should be avoided when constructing a house and knows the protection of the worker better. He also participated in a field visit which enabled him to observe the application of the techniques he learned.

"_I especially learned the ’__marrage carr__é’__," he explains, "We place two wooden crosses and are then tighten together. I did not use that technique before. I am very happy and satisfied with the training IOM has provided. Now I can give my customers better advice and build roofs that will withstand the next rains. If that happens again, we will be better prepared. I learned new things. I want to buy more sophisticated tools and become even better,_ "says the father of four children.

Prior to Hurricane Matthew, carpenters used to build and repair without observing earthquake and para-cyclonic standards. "_On the aftermath of Matthew, the houses tumbled down like houses of cards. We did not want these houses to be rebuilt with the same techniques. So we trained carpenters like Renaud. We also educated them to disseminate the knowledge they have acquired during the training. The carpenters we trained do not only work in Dame Marie, they have clients and colleagues in Hanse D'Hainault, Les anglais, and Les Irois, all areas that were severely damaged by the hurricane. Any boss in the area with this kind of knowledge will be able to repair the roofs in accordance with the standards because we use techniques accessible to everyone and local materials_, "explains Evens Mesidor focal point and project engineer Roof repair at IOM As part of the coordination of the Shelter Haiti working group, IOM and its partners continue to provide training in the Grande'Anse department. 50 carpenters were trained in Apricots, 20 in Jeremie. 100 bosses will receive training at Moron / Chambellan and 100 more at Beaumont in the coming months.

Julie Harlet, IOM Haiti Photo credit IOMHaïti 2017JulieHarlet

[1] On October 4, 2016, a Category 4 hurricane struck Haiti. Crossing the departments of Grand 'Anse, South and Nippes, Matthew caused major damage to crops, homes, schools and other infrastructure. An estimated 2.1 million people have been affected by the hurricane. Of these, 1.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance (OCHA). Data collected by SNGRD through the Civil Protection Directorate (DPC) estimates that 103 907 houses were destroyed, 99 975 were severely damaged, 11 500 were slightly damaged, and 21 500 were flooded.

[2] Number of kits distributed as of May 24, 2017.

[3] These repair kits contain: 8 Sheets, 14 woods 2x4x16,0.35 kg nails 3''1 / 2; 0.9 kg nails 3 ''; 0.5 kg nails 2''1 / 2; 0.25 kg sheet metal nails 2''1 / 2).

[4] Number of bosses trained as of May 24, 2017