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Firm Led Rebuilding Effort Of 10,000+ Homes In Haiti After Earthquake

“It is our responsibility as engineers to do the right thing. We know how to mitigate risk and save lives.” – Dr. Kit Miyamoto, Miyamoto International

California-based earthquake + structural engineering company Miyamoto International won a “Global Best Projects” award from the prestigious engineering publication, ENR, it was announced last week.  Miyamoto International took top honors in the Renovation/Repair category. The winning entry was for the repair of 10,000+ earthquake-damaged homes in Haiti, a major initiative led by the Government of Haiti, USAID, the World Bank, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and Miyamoto. The program helped Haitians return to homes repaired to withstand future earthquakes after a 7.0-magnitude quake devastated the country in 2010.

After initially traveling to the stricken country to help assess the damage and finding many homes not reinforced to withstand earthquakes, Miyamoto partnered with PADF and other local organizations to train Haitian masons, engineers and contractors on modern building techniques that meet international seismic standards. While most other relief efforts focused on temporary tent camps after the disaster, Miyamoto and its partners spearheaded a plan that was more cost-effective and long lasting: fix people’s homes and rebuild them to last.

The initial 500-house pilot program was so successful, Miyamoto and its partners expanded the pilot and repaired 10,000+ houses in Port-au-Prince and nearby Leogane.

“Earthquakes don’t kill people; buildings kill people,” said Miyamoto International CEO Dr. H. Kit Miyamoto. “It’s is our responsibility as engineers to do the right thing. We know how to mitigate risk and save lives. We know how to prevent these disasters.”  The award will be presented to the winners in New York City May 13.

Part of his team in Haiti also focuses on repairing schools. Since his first visit to Haiti, he has started a nonprofit, Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief, to respond to disasters worldwide.

PADF – Leogane Haiti Emergency Shelter Rehabilitation – 1,200
OFDA Pilot Program – 2,000
OFDA Extension – 1,850
ADORATION Yellow Houses Repairs – 200
DAI Yellow House Repairs – 200
OTI-USAID – Haiti Recovery Initiative Yellow Houses Repairs – 125
UNOPS – Shelter Repair – 800
PADF – Yellow Houses Repairs – 4,035

Total structures repaired: 10,000
Total households affected: 15,947

Most recent completed project:
PADF/ Miyamoto Yellow House Repair
4035 Total Project Size
4035 Houses Repaired
Project completed

Following the devastating January 2010 earthquake, an initial damage assessment process determined whether buildings were safe (green), sustained limited damage (yellow), or were unsafe (red). For the highest immediate impact, yellow tagged houses have been flagged for repair and are being repaired through various programs.

Total Households Restored: 15,947

Léogâne is a seaside town in Ouest Department, Haïti. It is located in the eponymous arrondissement, the Léogâne Arrondissement. The port town is located about 29 km (18 mi) west of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

The devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010 was a tragic event with enormous scale and impact; Léogâne was at the epicenter of the 7.0 magnitude  this coastal town (Leogane) “the worst affected area”; approximately 90% destroyed and 30,000 people lost their lives here. The damage was also reported to be worse than the capital. People have congregated in ad hoc squatter camps and relief has taken longer to reach Léogâne.

Miyamoto International is responsible of the supervision of all the repairs and trained the masons, and the contractors on the new guideline of repair.

This is just one interview concerning the thousands of homes that have been successfully repaired.

Merite Noel, a widow of 82 years, has been interviewed by the project coordinator:

PC: Merite Noel, are you borne to Leogane or not?

MN: No, I am not from to Leogane. I’m borne to Jacmel but I am living in Leogane since I had 17 years.

PC: You say that you are widow; did your husband die while the earthquake?

MN: No, I am widow for six years.

PC: Do you have children?

MN: I had only one daughter, she died in the house on January, 12th 2010 by the “Goudougoudou” (a surname gives to the earthquake).

PC: But are you living alone there?

MN: Yes, alone. Sometime my sisters and brother in my church visit me. I do everything by myself: cooking, washing…my family is the members of my church.

PC: Where were you while the earthquake?

MN: I was at home, I was picking cherries. I saw the house shaking from left to the right and I run out and I immediately notice walls fall down where I was picking the cherries. The only thing I could say for that moment was “Alleluia, Bless to the Lord”.

PC: Your house has very damaged by the earthquake and PADF/Miyamoto repair it for you. Are you satisfied for all the works we do?

MN: You have been sent by God, because He knows I could never do it by myself. I am very happy for all these things you do for me. I don’t have enough words to express myself to thank you.

PC: Do you have anything to say to the responsible of the project?

MN: Thank you, thank you and thank you….! Merite Noel te vreman merite kado noel sa (Merite Noel merits this gift for the Christmas)

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