PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and Taiwan have launched the Haiti/DR Disaster Mitigation Project, an innovative crisis and risk prevention intervention that melds high-technology innovation with low-technology solutions to reduce the impact of natural disasters on the communities of southeast Haiti and the southeast border region between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
By mapping vulnerable communities through handheld GPS, the six-month project will identify weaknesses in the immediate environment, which represent imminent threats to the people of the community. This initiative will also develop, with support from community leaders and using community structures already in place, a series of preventive measures to minimize risk and prevent damage during natural disasters.
In addition, PADF will apply mitigation measures to reduce the risk of vulnerability and develop monitoring processes to ensure the preparation of the pre-disaster and post-disaster actions, as well as coordinate cross-border mitigation activities and reinforce cross-border cooperation in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
The program is part of a $2.5 million PADF fund established by Taiwan in December 2012 to implement a Regional Disaster Assistance and Reconstruction program over five years in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“PADF will build on its existing programs and extensive networks in the region to implement critical supports in a zone that is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes and other natural disasters,” said Nadia Cherrouk, country director for PADF in Haiti. “We are very proud of the opportunity to continue collaborating with Taiwan in helping and supporting communities who are vulnerable.”
Bang-zyh Liu, Taiwan’s ambassador to Haiti, added, “Facing the global climate change issue, Taiwan, as a provider of humanitarian aid, is glad to collaborate with PADF to help the Haitian government's efforts in the fields of disaster prevention.”
This latest project follows other recent Taiwan-funded interventions. In 2011, PADF received a $300,000 grant from Taiwan to provide critical assistance to Haiti’s most vulnerable communities affected by the 2010 earthquake. In 2009, the government of Taiwan also provided funds to restore water access to more than 8,600 residents in the Cayes-Jacmel area in Haiti’s South East region, after hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike damaged drinking water supply systems. PADF has also worked in the South East for more than 10 years, implementing critical community development projects and working with local leaders to establish local ownership of programs.
For more than 30 years, PADF has been in Haiti, focusing on disaster mitigation and cross-border relations, as well as community and businesses development, agro-forestry, and human-rights protection. Following the 2010 earthquake and the ensuing humanitarian crisis, PADF provided relief aid to more than 1.7 million Haitians.