Nonprofit leads construction relief efforts after Haiti earthquake

By Riley SimpsonAugust 25, 2021

After a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti this month, construction nonprofit Build Health International (BHI) has mobilized relief efforts to rebuild medical infrastructure in the country (Photo courtesy of Reuters)

After a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti earlier this month, Build Health International (BHI) has mobilized emergency relief infrastructure efforts for the nation.

BHI is a construction nonprofit based in Massachusetts that supports the design, construction, and maintenance of high-quality health infrastructure throughout Haiti and around the world. In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, BHI was created to respond to the disaster, and the nonprofit built the Hopital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM), Haiti’s flagship teaching hospital.

Jim Ansara, BHI co-founder and managing director, said that the nonprofit is responding to the most recent earthquake with a team mostly comprised of Haitian engineers, architects, logisticians, contractors, electricians and plumbers to get supplies and specialists to people in need as quickly as possible.

Boston-based firm Shawmut Design and Construction has also joined BHI’s efforts by giving $25,000 to relief efforts, which is the latest instance of the firm’s history of providing donations, volunteers and industry expertise on emergency infrastructure projects around the world.

“We are so saddened by the destruction this catastrophic earthquake has brought to Haiti, a country that has already seen so much devastation,” said Shawmut CEO Lee Hiscoe. “We are humbled to contribute to Build Health International’s efforts to provide urgent healthcare infrastructure relief and repairs to hospitals across the country’s southern peninsula.

“At the core of Shawmut’s philanthropic efforts is the example set by Jim Ansara’s long and storied history of selfless charitable work and humanitarianism,” Hiscoe said. “We are proud to support BHI in the effort to help stabilize the region so badly upended by this tragic natural disaster.”

The earthquake, which struck the morning of Aug. 14 local time 78 miles west of the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince, has killed approximately 1,500 people and injured approximately 6,000 others.

Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency said that approxmately 13,700 homes have been destroyed, with another 13,800 sustaining damage.

According to the organization, BHI has designed, built and equipped more than 200 dignified spaces in 26 countries for care in the world’s most vulnerable communities to enable local clinicians to work at their full potential.

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