The Modular Building Institute (MBI) and Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today announced the formation of an alliance, Start Today and Rebuild Together (START), to leverage the resources of the construction industry, nongovernmental organizations, and government agencies to respond quickly and efficiently with relief and rebuilding efforts following natural disasters.

The first joint initiative is START Haiti. On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti killing more than 200,000 people and devastating the capital city Port-au-Prince. As Haitians work to put their lives back together, START Haiti will be there to help.

“The modular construction industry, perhaps more so than any other industry, has the opportunity to help rebuild Haiti, and rebuild it better than before,” said Executive Director of the Modular Building Institute Tom Hardiman. “The country needs a massive infusion of infrastructure and our industry is excited to be working with ABC to help provide much needed supplies to the people of Haiti.”

“There is no greater calling than to assist those in communities that have been struck by natural disasters, and we are proud to share this opportunity with the Modular Building Institute,” said ABC President and CEO Kirk Pickerel. “Whether it is Haiti, New Orleans, or some other part of the United States or the world, ABC members have expressed a willingness to get involved in the rebuilding effort.”

For START Haiti, MBI and ABC member companies will raise funds to provide 12 modified containers filled with medical supplies. Nongovernmental organizations, including Volunteers of America and Architecture for Humanity, will deliver and set up the modular units. Additional phases of START Haiti include establishing a base camp for volunteers, constructing permanent housing and commercial infrastructure, raising awareness, and lobbying for funds and long-term assistance.

To donate to the START Haiti relief effort, go directly to VOA Southeast here and designate “START Haiti” as the gift.