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    November 16

  • 07:17 PM

Buildings checked for safety

marciadottin, marciadottin@nationnews.com

Added 24 July 2010

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations says more than 200 000 buildings in Haiti have been assessed for structural damage as part of its efforts to boost reconstruction activities following the January 12 catastrophic earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people.The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) said that engineers had “vastly exceeded” their assessment targets. The original target had been 100 000 buildings. UNOPS said it was working with the Haitian government and the seismic engineering contractor, Miyamoto International, to run the project, which was financed by the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery. UNOPS said at least 280 local engineers had been trained to check the safety of buildings. “The engineers have been targeting the worst-affected areas in Port-au-Prince, the capital, and physically inspecting buildings before tagging them with green, yellow or red paint according to the extent of damage,” the statement said. “Priority is being given to schools and homes in districts where camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) are the most crowded,” it added. UNOPS said the details of the buildings and their damage levels were then entered into a database, which was being used by officials for reconstruction planning. It said social workers were also accompanying the engineers as they work to explain to local residents the purpose and nature of the assessments. UNOPS said to date just under half of the assessed buildings had been found to have no structural damage, so they could be reoccupied. But it said about a quarter of the buildings seen have “so much damage that they will probably need to be torn down”. (CMC)

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