Clean water is recognized as the top priority in saving lives and preventing diseases in Haiti following the earthquake by leading disaster response and humanitarian aid organizations, including the Red Cross, Mercy Corps, and UNICEF. A recent report by Public Radio International states that in the absence of potable water, there is a danger that earthquake survivors will resort to drinking water sources contaminated by human waste, garbage, or industrial byproducts. According to the World Health Organization, before the earthquake, only 58% of the Caribbean nation’s population had sustainable access to improved drinking water supplies. In addition to having an extremely limited service and distribution reach, the public water infrastructure network suffered extensive damage during the quake.
In addition, as a result of massive destruction and displacement, tens of thousands of people have gathered in makeshift displaced persons camps and “tent cities.” In such crowded conditions without access to clean water and sanitation, hygiene levels plummet, allowing diseases to spread rampant with often times fatal consequences.
As mentioned in a previous post, besides fixing damaged chlorination units, we also have been working to provide water to those without access. While it will take time to repair public water cisterns that were damaged in the quake, Dalebrun Esther, our Haiti Director, has been negotiating with owners of private reservoirs. In exchange for allowing neighbors to use water from their reservoirs, Dalebrun is filling up these water storage systems with chlorinated, tankered water. Each tank can hold 3,000 gallons and can make 5 trips a day. We are renting up to 10 tankers a day, providing water to as many Haitians in Port-au-Prince as possible.
New pictures of our Haiti Director Dalebrun Esther delivering water in Haiti are displayed below. Right now our priority is to send as much clean water and supplies to alleviate their pain.
If you are able to help in any way please contact us immediately.