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Haitian Recovery: Broadcasting the “Lost City” To Enlighten Rebuilding Efforts

04/03/2010

Daily video reports from Haiti informing architects, engineers and other professionals about the details of rebuilding the island are needed to sustain recovery momentum. Such reports can be modeled after the above video, produced by the Inter-American Development Bank and supplemented by weekly international web conferencing. Presidents Clinton and Bush offer a potential solution. The video was produced on 1.29.10.

That Haiti needs continuing and sustained assistance in the effort to intelligently rebuild the earth-shaken and disabled nation is no headline. The problem: timely rebuilding updates from Port-au-Prince are rapidly disappearing and the amount of media coverage has expectedly tapered off in the weeks and months following the horrific events of January 12, 2010 when the 7.0 magnitude quake struck our consciousness.

What’s needed is a continuing internet media presence so the outside world can track progress, understand unique local issues involved in restoring the Haitian infrastructure, and to establish a professional-to-professional connection that will maintain a continuing bond between those with specific expertise that wish to help with those who daily fight for survival and seek sustainable answers.

As of Saturday, April 3, 2010, there were 88 channels on Livestream.com from Haiti. On UStream.tv 715 outlets could be found. Switching over to Justin.tv, only one Haitian station was seen. Only a few were “live.” Much web video/internet broadcasting efforts from Haiti have ceased, and others have nothing to do with disaster recovery.  Some are fundraisers, but it appears none are expressly focused on the daunting challenge of rebuilding homes and communities. Some Haitian and non-governmental organization (NGO) channels may briefly cover the challenge, but it appears none are focused enough to enlighten, on a real-time basis, the engineers, architects, entrepreneurs, NGO’s, academics, students and others who seek to help understand and attack day-to-day recovery issues. 

Interested parties need constant updates about neighborhood areas of opportunity, the success and failures of different deployed housing alternatives and modalities, cultural restoration needs and the opportunities and advancements made in putting the island back together. 

There are many in the United States and elsewhere that seek to provide meaningful and strong housing options for the beleaguered island population.  Such professionals could benefit from an inexpensive front line daily briefing about the status of local rebuilding efforts, the materials needed, applicable government regulations, logistical challenges and financing alternatives.  

Networks such as Livestream.com allow for live video and immediate chat discussion of specific rebuilding issues, in a manner which is much more effective than a recorded YouTube presentation or static web pages.  They offer more depth than 140 character Twitter headlines. Yet, despite all the new age opportunities to keep us abreast of the evolving rebuilding challenges and efforts, these networks are falling short of their technological promise.
 

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, established to raise money for Haitian relief, should sponsor and broadcast a daily live show focused on the re-birth of Haiti.  It should enable such a channel, on its current website,  to allow students, volunteers, professionals and members of government to work on rebuilding solutions in real time. Once a week live video conferences should be held on Skype, AdobeConnectPro or GoToMeeting to facilitate understanding of weekly progress and impediments. As an adjunct to fund raising efforts, the Presidential relief initiative, already based on the net, can focus on the most pressing daily problems by broadcasting to the world “rebuilding updates.”  Such a video conversation would enable international collaboration, educate, inform, and be focused on providing real solutions for practical applications. At the same time, it would help donors see their charitable contributions in action.

Time Magazine currently has a special on the American newsstands. It refers to Port-au-Prince as the “Lost City.”  With a daily video report, Haiti will not be lost in yesterday’s good intentions, or hidden from today’s consciousness.  Let’s start a daily video chronicle and highly visible conversation to make Haiti ready for the today’s challenges and those which lie ahead.

 

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