WASHINGTON, March 5, 2009 – The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a US$5 million grant to the Republic of Haiti to help rebuild public primary schools damaged by hurricanes and tropical storms that struck the country in August and September 2008. The grant will rebuild schools and set in motion a new strategy for safer school construction.
“Investing in prevention and preparedness, and improving construction standards will contribute to make Haitian schools more resilient to future natural disasters,” said Yvonne Tsikata, World Bank Director for the Caribbean.
According to official statistics, it is estimated that 964 schools were seriously damaged in the 2008 hurricane season, affecting more than 200,000 children.
“The project will set the foundation for the revision of school designs, the use of some schools as community shelters in times of crises, and increased community ownership in the schools to be rebuilt,” said Michael Drabble, World Bank task manager for the project.
The Emergency School Reconstruction Project will contribute to rebuilding and refurbishing an estimated 15 public primary schools, as well as reducing the vulnerability of educational infrastructure through the use of enhanced construction standards. It is expected that all new educational infrastructure will use these construction standards.
Specifically, the project will support the following activities:
- Finance the reconstruction and rehabilitation of about 15 primary schools that have been destroyed or seriously damaged. New schools built in Haiti will use better standards and building norms, attempting to prevent further collapse of school buildings. A few selected schools that are used as temporary shelters in case of natural disasters will be upgraded.
- Support the development of a National Action Plan for Safe Schools (NAPSS), which includes a vulnerability assessment and risk analysis of existing educational infrastructure, a study on “The impact of disasters on the education sector in Haiti”, the organization of a national workshop on building and maintaining safe schools, and the design of the national action plan.
- Improve service delivery of the Ministry of Education’s Civil Works Unit to properly enforce new standards and regulations related to the construction and maintenance of educational infrastructure. This will be accomplished through capacity building, communication activities, stakeholder consultations, training and involvement of partners at central and local levels as a way to promote the enforcement of new methods for safe school construction.