My name is Mike Taylor, and I recently joined the CREATE Lab to investigate Haiti's rubble problem. According to the U.S. State Department, the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti left an estimated 10 million cubic meters of rubble in its wake. By my calculations, that's enough rubble to build a one-foot-thick and thirty-foot-tall wall down the entire length of the Mississippi river. Now, more than a year and a half later, many estimate that less than a fifth of the debris has been removed. My goal is to examine the various challenges and barriers to progress that must be overcome in order for Haiti to clear the rubble and start to rebuild.
Our end goal is to develop technologies that empower the Haitian people to lead the recovery and reconstruction of their country. In this way, we hope to help make Haiti stronger so that it may flourish in the years to come. This goal requires a keen understanding of not only the technical challenges facing those who are now moving debris with just their hands, but also the subtle and complex interaction of social, economic, and environmental factors that give shape to the rubble problem in its entirety. My task is to capture this understanding while keeping a watchful eye for solutions and opportunities that can help Haiti to grow and flourish as an independent nation.
Over the next two weeks, I will be traveling through areas of Haiti that have been hardest hit by the earthquake, specifically in Leogane and Port-au-Prince, in order to survey the rubble first-hand and speak with locals who are currently moving the debris without the aid of tools or heavy machinery. When I am able (and in areas with electricity and internet), I will be making blog entries here as I gather stories and information. I hope that you will follow along with me for this exciting opportunity, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.