If all goes according to plan, Sean Penn's J/P HRO organization will begin the involved process of tearing down Haiti's National Palace within the next 10 days.
The iconic structure, which once served as the residence for the Haitian president, was heavily damaged during the earthquake that struck the country in 2010. Officials had been looking for a means to tear down the building, but lacked sufficient funds for the massive job. According to Government spokesman Lucien Jura, Penn's group agreed to do it for free.
"Amb. Penn mentioned that his organization (J/P HRO) could provide the engineers and equipment to do the demolition at no cost to the government," Jura told the AP, referencing Penn's designation as "Ambassador at Large" for the country.
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The demolition, according to government estimates, will take three months to complete. Penn's group will reportedly work with preservationists to remove some surviving pieces of the historical building, before backhoes and other heavy machinery move in to finish the job.
"It's an important project, an important step for the government, for Haiti, for the people of Haiti to move on," said J/P HRO executive director Ron Baldwin.
Future plans for the site have yet to be revealed. For now, the government is working out of prefabricated buildings on the palace grounds.
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