In the past week since Haiti’s been reduced to rubble, I wondered if shipping containers were going to be part of the housing solution when the government starts rebuilding. A couple of years ago I saw a story on the containers being used as modular housing, so it immediately came to mind. Today, in doing a search about whether the containers have been used in Haiti, I came across a post, from September 2008, which told about the aftermath of floods in Haiti after Hurrican Ike. Though the idea of container housing may be a good start they can be deadly if turned over or tipped or washed away, as mentioned in this blog post about a few that got away:
“Sometime around 3 am on Sunday morning, September 7, the bridge connecting Mirebalais to St. Marc, Gonaïves and the rest of the Artibonite Valley washed out. This not only separated the city of Mirebalais from its hospital on the other side of the river, but it cut the last road connecting the Artibonite with Port-au-Prince. It seems likely that shipping containers from the Nepalese Battalion UN base – near Gran Plas – were swept downstream by the waters and contributed to the bridge collapse.”
I doubt anyone saw that coming in 2008, but I still think the container housing idea is workable. Obviously the idea is not new, but getting used containers there is a job for the government, at this point, though some private compaines might also be able to assist with some of their inventories that are not being used. A donation or two would be a good start, but they need more than one or two.
There are a lot of companies that actually do the conversions, but considering how many live without running water or electric, the bare-bones, one-side-cut-open approach would be a whole lot better than a tent. I would think tent cities will be the way of life for some time to come, but having some of these for a community shelter or medical center would be a great help, no doubt. I certainly hope those who have the where-with-all can make the magic happen.
I read over a few links at the PIH website to find the http://www.standwithhaiti.org link via their links, which contained information about upcoming events like tonight’s James Taylor fund raiser for Haiti . According to their website Partners In Health (PIH) has been working on the ground in Haiti for over 20 years. Their news archive contained much of interest about what the PIH has been doing in Haiti.
The people of Haiti have endured much indeed.