“ They painted red circles on buildings deemed unsafe to reinhabit, yellow ones on buildings that could be fixed and black on buildings that were undamaged…….
Red circles far outnumbered any other color”
Damien Cave and Ginger Thompson
International Herall Tribune, 01.25.10
Signa Enterprises SA., was incorporated in 2002 with headquarters in Port au Prince, Haiti. Years before the Jan. 12th earthquake, it has been responsible for major construction projects such as construction of hurricane and earthquake resistant homes, office buildings and schools. It is also responsible for the implementation of multi-contract construction programs in multi-million dollar complexes. These completed projects created many jobs for the area and a training program, which saw local workers learning the home building trade.
Few people in Haiti build to resist major hurricanes that routinely rake the island. And almost no one drew blueprints for a major 7.0 earthquake and residual aftershocks, which hadn’t hit in more than two centuries. Haiti’s prevailing form of construction, lightly or unreinforced masonry that is rigid but brittle, ranks among the most vulnerable to semic shocks. The cheapest and most common building materials are home-made cement and blocks of inconsistent strength. Reinforced steel, or rebar, is so often distained as an expensive luxury.
At the heart of Signa Enterprises SA. Construction practice is the design and implementation of the 3D Panel system, which provides for a monolithic concrete structure able to resist earthquake, hurricane and flooding conditions. All Signa Haiti 3D system structures built before the earthquake came through unscathed and many became shelters for those who lost their homes and possessions close by. 3D Panels are used in every type of concrete structure because of the flexibility of design and ease of use. Thousands of structure and walls have been built around the world with 3D Panels. Most notably now, Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, is a strong advocate of the 3D Panel system for Habitat for Humanity projects.
Free Trade Zone
In 2003, Signa Enterprises SA. (Signa) was granted by the Haitian Government, a highly sought after ‘Free Trade Zone’ Permit which will allow Signa to focus upon a ‘decentralization’ plan to provide employment, housing, educational and medical facilities for an estimated 20,000 Haitians. A decentralization plan, Signa feels is a priority concern for future Haitian development programs, locating the Free Trade Zone away from the established urban centers such as Port-au-Prince, Cap Haitien and Jérémie.
Case in point, Haiti’s total population nearing the 10 million mark (pre-quake), an estimated 3 million people lived within the vicinity of Port-au-Prince which was designed for 300,000 people. With the Jan.12th earthquake an estimated 1 million Haitian have become homeless and jobless. A coordinated decentralization plan, providing jobs and housing at ‘critical scale’ operations, based upon the Signa ‘Free Trade Zone’ foot print, will allow for a systematic and sustainable ‘post-quake’ reconstruction plan for all of Haiti.