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REALOMETER DISPATCH #2 : First Things First ! A Message to the Mayor of Port-au-Prince

By: Greg Higgins, Architect and Managing Director HabiTek, LLC
May 14, 2012

Disaster prevention, a key mission of the Haitian Resource Development Foundation (HRDF), takes many forms. One of the most immediate and obvious actions to take to prevent disasters is removing dangerous conditions caused by Haiti’s great Earthquake. The photo below was taken last September, nineteen months after the quake, on my visit to Haiti hosted by HRDF. Goodness knows how many VIPs, and others in position of authority, have driven by this accident waiting to happen on there way to the newly refurbished Iron Market – and apparently failed to take notice. The Iron Market is just a few blocks down the street from where I took this photo.

Directly below the edge of this broken slab, loaded with rubble, are several vendors selling their wares, and many pedestrians.With close inspection, you can see that the concrete column supporting the broken slab is also severely damaged.  This street corner must be made safe, if not corrected by now.

After the September 2011 trip, I prepared an open letter to the Mayor of Port-au-Prince in an appeal to correct this extremely hazardous situation as soon as possible. The letter is posted below.

Please feel free to share this photo.  With a little luck, it could end up in the inbox of someone who has the authority to fix what is obviously an avoidable terrible accident waiting to happen? 

Open Letter to Mayor Jean Yves Jason

Dear Honorable Mayor Jean Yves Jason

Please require the owner of this building to demolish it (see photo attached).  If this is not possible, one would hope that your good office could arrange for demolition.  In the interim, may I respectfully suggest that a ring of barriers be placed around the building so there is no chance that a further collapse will injure or even kill.

Your quick action to prevent the possibility of a disaster at this street corner, near the Iron Market, would be an inspiration to your citizens, and would send a message to tourists, as I was in September, that your office is taking charge of the situation. 

Thank you. 
Respectfully yours,

Greg Higgins, Architect
Spokane, WA USA


The Haitian Resource Development Foundation prioritizes programs that enable and empower various Haitian locales to further personal and collective independence. Engaging in a range of programs over 20 years, the HRDF continues a commitment to providing measurable results for program beneficiaries and program benefactors. Working with multiple international partners from North America and Europe, the HRDF is committed to fundamental improvements in Haitian villages to ensure greater economic vitality in the near future.