UN Says Water Distribution a Success, but Needs Still Not Met for 1,000,000+

The chief of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, said last week that he was disappointed with the way the relief effort was going in Haiti. The 23rd UN situation report in Haiti released yesterday finds that only 30% of those in need of shelter have received it, and 25% of sites lack sufficient latrines.

As an important force in the effort to distribute water in Port-au-Prince, International Action is proud to contribute in one of the most successful facets of the aid operation. Right now 5 litres of clean drinking water are reaching 1,311,600 people each day.  However, while a significant proportion of the population are having their immediate water needs met, it should be noted that this water has not necessarily been distributed equally. Moreover, less than half of earthquake survivors are being reached by water aid. Efforts are now being made to implement a more permanent system of distribution, and insure that the daily ration of water for each person is being met or exceeded throughout Port-au-Prince and its provinces.

In order to avoid an overlap of work the UN’s response effort is divided into twelve clusters: Camp Coordination and Camp Management, Education, Emergency Shelter and Non-Food Items, Food, Logistics, Nutrition, Protection, WASH (Water Sanitation and Health), Agriculture, Early Recovery, Emergency Telecommunications, and Health. Each of these clusters confronts different obstacles and has achieved different levels of success.

The UN Protection cluster has announced growing concerns over the depletion of water reserves, particularly in the areas where the highest influx of refugees has occurred.

While many Haitians in Port-au-Prince are receiving sufficient drinking water, most are not receiving enough for other necessities like personal hygiene. This is creating an increasing risk of widespread disease. International Action and the United Nations are continuing to improve the water infrastructure with the goal of bringing ample water for all daily needs, and avoiding the risk of disease.

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