Shelter for Haiti

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  #1  
Old 01-17-10, 06:42 AM
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Shelter for Haiti

I remember seeing that the US (and other countries I'm sure) have thousands of empty steel shipping containers. Couldn't they be shipped to Haiti to use as shelters? (Of course not until the food/water/medical aid is supplied) The containers are pretty much bombproof and waterproof. I also recall a Bob Vila show where they used two of them in Florida to build a hurricane proof house. They were also coated with a special paint to reflect the suns heat.

I just did a search on "shipping container homes" and wow! There is quite a lot out there.

Here is a video on youtube of the History Chanel "Modern Marvels": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65C9OLvmjpI
 

Last edited by Tolyn Ironhand; 01-17-10 at 08:11 AM.
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  #2  
Old 01-18-10, 03:30 AM
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Scott: I have seen the same and concur with our surplus abilities, not only in that area, but in others. My heart goes out to the people of Haiti. They are in a very bad predicament due to no fault of their own. Here's where America shines. We can and do provide humanitarian aid to those in need, and it makes me proud.
I do have issues with the Haitian government, however. We have dumped billions of dollars into their government coffers to help with their infrastructure. Lotta good that did, seeing that their buildings were basically cardboard. How a government can do that to their own people, KNOWING the inevitability of hurricanes and other natural disasters that loom. There's no accounting and no paper trail as what usually happens with humanitarian aid. Most of the aid goes to the people who need it less, and those who do need it die. I did not mean to be political on this, but it happens and it saddens me.
 
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Old 01-19-10, 04:27 PM
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If you live in the tropics, don't you first need food and water, and hygenic toilet facilties and places to cook, more than shelter (a plain empty box)? Although the OP idea is noble and better than nothing I guess.

What have we done in the way of quickly sending bulldozers, cranes, and whatever else is needed to lift rubble off of people?
 
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Old 01-19-10, 05:10 PM
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there is a university that is working on a shipping container turned into a shelter but I understand it is not complete yet.

Haiti already has hundreds, if not thoussands of such containers setting on the island as we speak. You can actually go to google earth and find them.



they are actually using some for make shift hosiptals now. One doctor was complaining about the conditions they are working in and mentioned they were in a shipping container.




I want to know why they they simply didn't take a bunch of trucks and go to the areas that are not damaged and load them up. The northern city of Labadee is undamaged and still recieving cruise ships at their docks and pick up water and food.

Now that the supplies are coming in via outside sources, it would not be needed but until that time...


They have just recently started using more than the 1 runway airport to receive aircraft as well. About time in my opinion.

now, while I doubt this will be accepted well but:

while everybody states how poor the country is, I have seen no person barefoot except those injured and most of the people (by far) are wearing clothing that is as good or better than what I wear on a daily basis.

It just strikes me odd that they would be as well dressed as they are.
 
  #5  
Old 01-19-10, 06:01 PM
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There a number of problems with the temporay containers (ala FEMA trailers) in a climate like Haiti. - Although some people bought FEMA trailer for use as week-end homes elsewhere.

The containers can be a total "overheated" oven or hot box no matter what paint is on them, even with the top slightly open. Generally,they are just minimal iron boxes with a good base frame to cover the goods inside. They need a couple of windows and two doors for ventilation to make people accept them. There are thousands of discarded around the world. In India, the people would rather find a scrap 6' of 8' diameter culvert that is only 8 feet long if it is sitting where one end drains and poly could be placed over the higher end.

In India I saw one of a series of projects in a city in India where they we build what they called "slum housing" to eliminate the squaller. Each site (4 total) was building 2000-4000 minimal units per year of housing using local materials and labor with water, utilities, and sanitary facilities for each unit. This took people out of huts/shanties and put them in a decent shelter.

Even if containers could be used temporarily, they have to move them, sanitary facilities provided and then anchor them to prevent the common tragedies we see in mobile home parks in the U.S. during the frequent winds due to tornadoes and hurricanes. Can you imagine a container rolling into one or more during a storm?

The Carribbean has generally has no wood for construction except crate/pallet scraps. The basic construction backbone is concrete masonry for residential and reinforced concrete/concrete block for commercial and multi-story. The lack of controls was possibly a result of the loss of life in the residential areas that were really not in the immediate area of the seismic source. The other Carribbean homes and buildings on other islands are constructed by local labor using local materials and labor that have worked will for many years and give people some pride.

It is somewhat difficult to understand how Haiti can be so different than its reasonably successful neighbor (Dominican Republic) on the same island and other republics in the same region with hurricanes except for many years of local corruption that will take many years to eliminate. There is a reason for it to be one of the poorest countries in the world.

It makes little sense to get a good "green feeling" on a grand recycling program if it does not fit the needs of the population and conditions.

What is required is a program of rebuilding using acceptable local materials and local labor to provide a sense of ownership even if the land may never be owned unless someone is paid to release the title/deed. This would be in conjunction with re-education or removing politicians that are self-serving.

The global poitical situatio is on top that, especially if it is a short term promise/program.

Dick
 
  #6  
Old 01-20-10, 09:54 AM
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I am probably going to stick both feet in my mouth here, but thats ok, I'm a big boy. Several things here. No steel containers. In the heat down there it would be like living in an oven. Concretemasonry covered that great. Haiti has always been a haven for bandits and outlaws and still is. You can go back to Blackbeard the Pirate and see where they hung out. Big pirate place. It has always been like that. It is a big drug country also. This earthquake has really screwed up their drug trade. Now in saying this, this earthquake was a bad thing. Millions homeless. I have been running numbers of building what are called dinger ranch houses. I think that with importing certain materials, and hiring them as laborers and of course UN and USA money donations we could make a real dent in the housing dept in about 3 years time. Just some thoughts in my brain as I watch it snow outside.
 
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Old 01-20-10, 10:31 AM
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Like the rest of the islands in the area they can easily use many local materials and import a minimal amount of non-avalailable materials like wood and steel, that are minimal but it that is not new the the region. The people/politicians just have to learn to build to a reasonable and acceptable standard for the region and conditions.

Multi-story concrete buildings with minimal steel reinforcement (if actually used) and salt water for mixing concrete does not work. The common one or two story residential areas were generally totally unreinforced plain masonry and just using bond beams at the top of a wall and a single vertical bar (#3, 4 or 5) at each side of a door or window would have saved many lives because it makes a world of difference when it comes to life safety code aspects. It takes some education and changes in tradition.

If Haiti and the Dominican Republic were not so different, the could both be combined and made a U.S. territory like Puerto Rico and Guam. The two ends of the islands developed separately because of a gap (geographic and geologic) between the two ends of the island and differences in politics and corruption.

The latest 6.1 aftershock today will only add to the personal miserly and trouble distributing supplies. - The helicopters have to change landing locations daily and drop troops just before the water and food to make an attempt at distribution.

It is a sad situation.
 
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Old 01-20-10, 02:52 PM
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If Haiti and the Dominican Republic were not so different, the could both be combined and made a U.S. territory like Puerto Rico and Guam.
don't even go there. I think we have enough children to watch as it is and in all honesty, due to this situation, they will probable get more donations from world wide resources than they would from just a US support.


- The helicopters have to change landing locations daily and drop troops just before the water and food to make an attempt at distribution.
the chopper drop I saw on vid had no security on the ground. It was toss and fly.


Not that I want our military involved but somebody needs to supply security, big time. UN control would be best. They are generally fine with security and it would remove the concern of US occupation that has already been expressed by the French. Of all people, who has a worse position to gripe about occupation of Haiti than France?


dinger ranch houses
I don't know what that is but if it is a ranch style like in single story, I do not believe that would do much good in this situation. Even in the shanty areas, a single story is too much ground space without nearly enough living space considering the population.

Now, one of the big questions for me: especially given the aftershock (haven't read about it yet), what building standards are imposed on new construction. Will the costs for earthquake prone area building techniques be problem?

and to the no to the steel containers?

Cut out the opposite end for air flow. They need immediate shelter and for a short term, those things would suffice. The concern about them being blown around able to be overcome. tie them together in an arrangement that would allow both ends to be open, or mostly open and you could cover 100 acres with them essentially being 1 unit. As well, they can be anchored to the ground. Bore some holes, throw in an anchor and some concrete.

they are sleeping in the streets and tents are very short term shelter. The weather is going to tear them up in no time plus you still have to anchor them.

Hey, speaking of FEMA trailers; there should be several thousand of those left. I saw a gov auction recently that there was several lots of several hundred. I would guess there are still a lot left. Toss them is a C5A and go or a big sea fairing ship. I mean, they are already relatively close to the ocean now.

here are over 10000 housing units right here.

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  #9  
Old 01-20-10, 03:44 PM
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Security is paramount. Food and water will go farther if it is distributed equitably. Or you could deliver like a hot LZ.....all the supplies near the doors and everybody kick it all off at 10' from the deck....pull up.
 
  #10  
Old 01-20-10, 05:35 PM
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How many FEMA trailers could possibly get on a C5A? And would the U.S. send trailers that have be condemed before the government sold some to people for week end retreats.

The need is for immediate relief and not long term recovery since the weather does not freeze and few are flooded because of the geography. the immediate needs are food and water. Many people go to the general area for the climate as long as they have windows and ventilation.

Certainly the church groups will go in a few months for a junket, just as I saw after my 6 months recovery work following Katrina. The parallels (traditions and politics) are very similar.

Unfortunately, the political structure and the traditions make it difficult for the U.S. politicians to "show boat" the minor expenditure ($3.00 for each U.S. citizen annually) for political reasons. - I give more than that at church each Sunday.

The relief problems are compounded by the local politics and the deteriorated and undeveloped infrastructure, but fortunately many countries are participating.

The big question will be the recovery and rebuilding after the local political garbage, graft and traditions are out of the way.
 
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Old 01-20-10, 07:38 PM
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=Concretemasonry;1682396]How many FEMA trailers could possibly get on a C5A?
I don't know. It was more of a direction that a specification.

And would the U.S. send trailers that have be condemed before the government sold some to people for week end retreats.
Huh? You lost me on that one. The units I linked were not condemned units and there are thousands more.


The need is for immediate relief and not long term recovery since the weather does not freeze and few are flooded because of the geograph
sure but once food, water, and toilet facilities are avaiable, there is a lot of loss of housing that needs something to replace it.





The big question will be the recovery and rebuilding after the local political garbage, graft and traditions are out of the way.
it will be difficult for them but I wonder if relocation to other areas of the country, that had no damage, would not be a viable option for some of the folks.
 
  #12  
Old 01-21-10, 03:37 PM
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Now, today, it is being perceived that the Americans are in an "occupation" mode, because the government of Haiti practically doesn't exist. You can't ask anyone what to do, because there is no one in charge. 1400 plane loads of stuff sitting in the States without flight plans because they can't land in Haiti. So we've got the food, just no where to put it. I'd say go with C140 open field skid drops.
Now, Chavez is claiming the US staged the earthquake in Haiti as a test to see if we could do the same to Iran by setting off undersea nuclear charges.
I say once a politician attempts to land in Haiti to get his photo ops, his plane is put in an eternal holding pattern for landing. He'll run out of fuel eventually and may have to divert to Havana. Tough.
 
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Old 01-21-10, 03:53 PM
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I'm liking how you think chandler.

the occupation thing is exactly why I believe the UN needs to step up and take control. We can do it either way so why take the crap when we don't have to?
 
  #14  
Old 01-21-10, 06:20 PM
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After being in Haiti, the only place I have been that is similar (not close in terms of human livability) is Bangladesh (formerly part of Pakistan before they split).

In Haiti, there little regard for the people by the politicians and also most of fed, the wealthy families with U.S. connections. In Bangladesh, the leaders recognize that the people must not be totally abused and disregarded since they are a resource for growth that can only occur if they are active and functioning. There is too little education in Haiti (80% illiterate) and many decades of total disregard for permanence and durability after many, many generations of living there. They have not had the chance to improve much beyond the pirates that used it as a port.

My comments on the FEMA trailers in N.O. may have been misunderstood. The trailers were abused and many were trashed within a few weeks. It was discovered there were many that were not suitable for longer term (over 3 months) habitation (pollution from materials, substandard construction because of the short delivery schedule) and durability. They were rehabbed, modified and cleaned up. Many were burned after the fire bans were eased after May, 2006. Some people earlier that had them and knew what they had, bought them for a infrequently used week-end retreats after they were not needed.

The FEMA homes were very helpful and one could be moved to the park, boulevard or front yard and leveled, anchored and connected to existing electrical, water and sewer in 2-3 hours.

That type of wood construction is not suitable for the climate of Haiti and the anticipated maintenance because of lack of money and a lack of compatible materials. Can you imagine trying to hold down a a flimsy "Katrina cottage" in an area that has many more hurricanes annually. That is why there is so much more more permanent construction in the rest of the region.

It could be a big burden on the U.S. that the minimal $100 million will be a drop in the bucket to improve in addition to the burden on the U.S. in terms of long term efforts and administration. - It is a big long term challenge.

Something should be done for a long term solution.

Dick
 
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Old 01-21-10, 06:53 PM
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the pollution from materials used was a no-go.

FEMA: Formaldehyde And Travel Trailers

what it amounted to for the most part is some people whining about the formaldehyde. I live a few miles from mobile home central in northern Indiana and this type of thing has been around for decades. You air the units out to dissipate any objectionable levels (and by objectionable, I mean that it bothers you. there was no health hazard shown to be present.)

from that link

Of the 120,000 travel trailers and mobile homes provided to survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf, FEMA has documented 206 complaints of strange odors, including formaldehyde complaints
206 out of 120000 units. that figures out to about .17% complaint rate. de minimis.

and nothing will last very long if you mistreat it. Lack of gratitude caused more damage than the quality of the build. Remember, they were set on train cars, towed by trucks, and put on trailers to get there. They were subjected to 70+ mph winds just getting to New Orleans. I didn't hear of any blowing apart on the way down.

of course you would not send trashed units down there but regardless of he condition, would they not be better than what is there? I have seen pics of some of the shanties. Couldn't do much worse and until something more permanent can be built, a trailer or park unit is better than the street, is it not. I never inferred they be for permanent residence.

it is going to take years to rebuild the housing. Tents and in the streets is just not reasonable.

or we could just let them fend for themselves.
 
  #16  
Old 01-21-10, 08:01 PM
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Shelter for Haiti

The numbers of complaints were totally wrong, but few could complain, since they were provided by FEMA, an understaffed government agency fighting for credibility.

While doing disaster verification for another agency, I later stayed in a Holiday Inn in Gretna, LA (west bank across from N.O.) about 4 months after the Katrina landfall in August 2005).

Five months later, I stayed at the same HI for work around N.O. While there many of the same people were living there and I talked to them. Many got FEMA trailers and tried to live in them, but the problems in the new trailers were very bad and he called the local parish commissioner, but they would not not replace/correct it and told them to leave it and and move back to the Holiday Inn and not turn in a complaint. - This also allowed them to stay in the HI (food and lodging allowance and place of the grill for the nightly parties) as long as they did not have a job and the commissioner got "number" credit for providing relief housing and keeping voters happy. - Just a single personal story.

The N.O./MS area was a zoo for the 6 months I spent there. That is just one example of what can happen if the politicians can over-ride common sense. People will take what they can get in the short term if they have nothing.

I don't know if the same systems are in place in Haiti, but now is the time to do something to make things work. It is actually an opportunity for some organization to take on a long term commitment. Gven power and open road local materials can be available quickly for more permanent housing if there is power, water and sewerage. It may not be ideal but if people build it themselves and have a place to build, it provides an improvement and pride.

Anything is better than a tent with the storm season coming and they can always use the FEMA sheds for firewood when there is something better. In India, they have developed use of camel dung and cow manure into a science for processing, drying and using it for cooking fuel.

Dick
 
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Old 01-22-10, 04:15 PM
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have you ever seen the formaldehyde test results? I did work for a company that did the testing for the local companies when this was all hitting the fan. (support for the law suits down the road) The results did not show any known health risk. While formaldehyde is an irritant, apparently it is not considered to be a health hazard until it is pretty concentrated.

proper remedy: open the doors and windows and air the things out. Elkhart Indiana has been dealing with that exact problem for decades. It was nothing new, nothing different.
 
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Old 01-22-10, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Now, Chavez is claiming the US staged the earthquake in Haiti as a test to see if we could do the same to Iran by setting off undersea nuclear charges..
I heard that too. Anti-U.S. sentiment at every turn. Always. We are the great Satan, you know.

But I DID think to myself, "Wouldn't that be something if we were experimenting on such stuff........like out at Area 51?" We can seed clouds to make rain. "Making" earthquakes sounds Biblical, end of times, stuff.
 
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Old 01-22-10, 05:11 PM
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I think he watched one of the Superman movies too many times.

there was the one where they nuked the San Andreas fault so they would have ocean front lots in Nevada or Arizona.

I guess I was wrong. It was the US testing their HAARP weapon:

http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1325.htm

and I guess we are warming it up for another test.

OMG, everybody hide, just not in seismically challenged shanties.
 
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