The construction of Hope Village in Haiti, which is set to house 1,000 people who lost their homes during the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck the country in 2010, was completed on June 30, two months ahead of schedule, according to officials from the Overseas Engineering & Construction Corp (OECC).
The rural resettlement project, which was started in July last year, was the realization of one of the pledges made by Taiwan to help Haiti’s reconstruction efforts after the country was hit by the killer earthquake, which claimed 300,000 lives and displaced 1.5 million people.
The permanent shelters built at a cost of US$5.5 million were also the first project sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China to provide humanitarian aid to the Caribbean country.
Recalling the past year’s construction work, engineers from the OECC said they had encountered great difficulties transporting large-scale equipment to the site because of the poor condition of the roads.
The site of the project is about 150km from the capital Port-au-Prince, in the Artibonite region of Centre Province, but it takes a five-hour drive to get there, the engineers said.
The Embassy of the Republic of China in Haiti has provided relief supplies and helped solve issues of land expropriation and governmental communications in the country, which has struggled with post-quake recovery as well as political turbulence.
The OECC built the 200-house village on 30 hectares, in which 6m-wide roads, churches, classrooms, outhouse bathrooms and power generating stations were constructed based on local culture, it said.
The project, which was designed to withstand earthquakes, was also recognized by the Taiwan Construction Research Institute.
In addition, OECC chairman Victor Hsiah (夏培麟) said the village was gtiven solar-powered lamps made in Taiwan.
By doing so, part of the relief funds could be sent back to Taiwanese businesspeople, he said, adding that the building company also recruited locals to help with the construction work in order to create jobs.
It was such a relief to be able to complete the project and all the Taiwanese staff has learned from the great international experience, he said.
An agricultural mission will be stationed in the village to teach people to grow a variety of maize, sorghum and Congo beans to ensure villagers have a harvest throughout the year.
The OECC is a construction company formed by Taiwanese syndicates to handle infrastructure projects funded by the ROC government in Haiti and Taiwan’s other diplomatic allies.