Cruise line Royal Caribbean has recently opened a new school on the cholera stricken island of Haiti.
On Tuesday 12th January 2010 the island was devastated by an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, this was followed over the next two weeks by at least another 52 smaller quakes. The devastation caused the estimated loss of around 230,000 lives, injured 300,000 and made 1 million homeless.
Approximately 250,000 homes and 30,000 commercial buildings were also destroyed.
To add further despair to the islanders, northern and central Haiti has now been struck by an outbreak of Cholera, although this area escaped lightly during the hurricanes, many people moved here to try to rebuild their lives, the epidemic has so far claimed another 200,000 lives in a country still reeling from their original loss.
The cruise line has been one of Haiti’s largest foreign investors and has been for nearly 30 years. They were originally criticised for still stopping off at the island after the earthquake but they were quick to reiterate that the Haitian community needed the money from the tourism to help get themselves back on their feet.
Chairman and chief executive of Royal Caribbean, Richard D Fain said “Haiti’s needs are enormous, and although we can only be a small part of the solution, we believe our model school is a good start.”
The complex is in northern Haiti close to nine different towns and villages, and consists of 6 buildings containing 12 classrooms, a computer lab and bathrooms. It is built on land which the cruise line leases from the Haitian government and all the materials used in the construction were imported from Miami onboard Royal Caribbean ships.
By day the school will be used for children’s education and in an evening, adults will be able to attend vocational training courses.
Fain confirmed that the school buildings would be able to withstand hurricanes and earthquakes and also be waterproof and energy efficient. He concluded “We hope that these children will develop into leaders who will guide Haiti’s recovery in the future.”