In late September, volunteer linemen from the National Rural Electrical Cooperative (NRECA) hailing from Arkansas, traveled to Haiti for 10 days to help install and upgrade the electrical transmission lines at the Mirebalais National Teaching Hospital.
The crew improved the electrical transmission lines from the hydroelectric dam at Peligré to the center of Mirebalais, and ran new overhead transmission wires from the town’s center to the Hospital.
Over the ten days spent at Mirebalais Hospital, the joint team of NRECA volunteers and Haitian linemen erected poles, repaired damaged lines and strung new lines from the center of Mirebalais all the way to the hospital.
They also ran underground lines onsite and connected a 13,000-volt cable to the hospital’s transformer, which now supplies permanent power to the campus. Within the next 6 weeks, NRECA plans to send a small crew of volunteers back to do some final adjustments and modifications to the transmission lines to further improve the quality and consistency of electricity at the hospital.
Part of the NRECA’s goal was to work with and train Haitian linemen, employees of Eléctricité d’Haiti (EdH), on how to perform these upgrades and installations efficiently and safely. NRECA also compiled a detailed study of and design for upgrading the electricity to the hospital and worked very closely on PIH’s behalf with the directors of EdH to help the hospital acquire electricity from their grid.
The partnership between NRECA and PIH had its beginning in January of 2010, in the days following the earthquake. Four days after the earthquake, Myk Manon who at the time was working with NRECA in the Dominican Republic and has since become the Country Director of Haiti for NRECA, met Jim Ansara and David Walton at the General Hospital in Port au Prince. Myk, along with two other NRECA volunteers, was instrumental in helping to restore power to the hospital when it was needed most.
NRECA has since remained in Haiti to help rebuild the electrical infrastructure and worked closely, in an advisory role, with the management of EdH.
The electrical service is a crucial piece of the puzzle for the success of the construction of Mirebalais Hospital. It is very exciting for us to have permanent electricity at the hospital and to be able to electrify each building as they become ready to come on line. We are very appreciative of NRECA’s partnership with PIH on this effort.