Washington, D.C. – March 22 is World Water Day, an opportunity to focus attention on the crucial need for freshwater worldwide and the ability to responsibly manage it. This year’s theme is “Clean Water for a Healthy World.” The day offers a chance for governments, civil society groups, and individual citizens to show support for safe, affordable, and sustainable drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) internationally. To find World Water Day campaign materials as well as programs and events near you, please visit http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/flashindex.html.
World Water Day also marks the beginning of a packed week for International Action. On Monday, International Action staff will be attending an event organized by Water Advocates highlighting the US’ growing commitments to increase water, sanitation, and hygiene services across the globe. On Tuesday, an intern delegation led by Jeffery Sejour, our Haitian-American program officer, will be participating in World Water Day Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. They will meet with water experts, Congressional offices, and other water activists to discuss critical water issues and to seek greater support for WASH programs and funding.
On Wednesday, our Executive Director Lindsay Mattison and one of our engineers, Deepak Kenkeremath, will attend a Clinton Global Initiative Haiti Forum meeting in New York City to rally additional support for our chlorine disinfection technology and water relief program. In addition, our Associate Director Youngmin Chang and Coordinator Jeremy Mak will attend a program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to learn more about corporate, NGO, and US government water relief and recovery efforts in Haiti.
A hydraulic engineer and a microbiologist that we’ve sent down to Haiti have both just returned to the states. Marc Marino met with local water departments and our Haitian staff to assist in assessing damage to the public water system in Port-au-Prince. Jean-Michel Arthus, a Haitian-born microbiologist, conducted coliform tests on water samples and showed our staff how to do the same. Pictures of their trip are available on our blog http://www.internationalaction.wordpress.com.
We want to thank Hach Company for their donation of chlorine reagents to help us check for chlorine residuals and Sumitomo Chemicals for their in-kind gift of mosquito nets to keep our local staff safe. Some of these were shipped down along with GPS devices, and more will be sent when our next trip leaves for Haiti early next month. 100 water tanks are already on their way to St. Mark.
Despite how busy we’ve been, the reality is that more than half of earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince still are not having their daily clean water needs met. Those interested in learning about and supporting our water relief and reconstruction efforts can reach International Action at info@HaitiWater.org or calling our coordinator Jeremy Mak at (202) 488-0735.