Seabees Improve Conditions In Petionville For Displaced Haitians
By Dialogo April 15, 2010Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 7´s Air Detachment are improving roads and installing engineering controls to improve living conditions for the more than 40,000 residents of Camp Petionville, an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Port-au-Prince. The engineering work is part of a larger IDP camp improvement program involving eight other camps identified by Joint Task Force (JTF) Haiti J7 engineers as needing road and engineering control improvements to mitigate the effects of the pending rainy season that historically begins in mid-April. "The natural terrain mixed with the numerous impermeable living structures created a situation that needed immediate action," said Camp Petionville project supervisor, Navy Lt. Jason Killian, a Civil Engineer Corps officer deployed to JTF-Haiti via Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Washington. "The engineering mitigations will save lives and reduce the overall number of people that need to be relocated by over 17,000." According to relief workers running Camp Petionville, the Seabees are exactly what the earthquake survivors need to prepare for the rain. "The Seabees are the wheels, horsepower and expertise needed to save lives here," said Sean Penn, head of J/P Haitian Relief Organization (HRO), the group running Camp Petionville. Camp Petionville is situated on the base of steep terrain common throughout Petionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince where the Petionville Club, a nine-hole golf and resort club, resides. The improvement suggestions come from assessments made by JTF-Haiti engineering experts comprised of NAVFAC, Army Corps of Engineers, Air Force civil engineers, and the Seabees themselves. JTF-Haiti, along with USAID , non-governmental organizations (NGOs), with the cooperation of the Haitian government, are working feverishly to improve the contours of the land to better handle the impact that Haiti´s rainy season will have on Camp Petionville.