Canadian troops help rebuild Léogâne

Master Corporal Jean-Nicolas Minville, Army News, Montreal

Friday, March 05, 2010

Léogâne, Haiti) — The city of Léogâne was almost entirely destroyed by the earthquake on 12 January. Only a few buildings remain standing; most were either seriously damaged or literally transformed into piles of rubble. With so much to be done, people have to set priorities.

“We have three main tasks here: we have to bring in water supplies, provide heavy equipment to remove the debris and offer engineering advice on Léogâne’s infrastructures,” explains Major Claire Bramma, commander of the Engineering Squadron with the 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment (3 R22eR) Battle Group.

On 3 February, 3 R22eR engineers therefore undertook several construction and recovery projects in the city. The work was enthusiastically welcomed by the local population and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) because of the urgent and proliferating needs of the area.

Sappers Danny Lemay and Junior Lecours from 5 Combat Engineer Regiment examine the ruins of Sainte-Croix hospital.

A valued and appreciated expertise

The expertise of the task force engineers is highly sought after. They respond to appeals based on priorities and the resources available to them.

When the directors of the Agence d’aide à la cooperation technique et au développement (ACTED), a French NGO, sought emergency help from Canadian troops in building a latrine near a refugee camp in downtown Léogâne, the engineers came to the rescue.

“It would have taken us two or three days, but the Canadian Army completed the job in the space of an hour,” stated Vincent Morel, head of the Eau et assainissement project for ACTED, which is conducting a sanitation mission in Léogâne.

Tasks that are out of the ordinary

Some of the tasks given the engineers are anything but ordinary, including a job they did for the Haitians involving medical archives.

“One of the most important tasks we’ve carried out so far was at the Sainte-Croix hospital. We removed debris from their administrative building and recovered some important documents,” notes Maj Bramma. Among the documents they found were medical archives that have allowed hospital personnel to improve the care they give their patients.

The engineers also worked to reinforce the town hall at Léogâne, which made it possible for municipal authorities to meet and continue their work.

Project Number: 10-0051

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