Last month, Father Dessalines of the St. Claire parish in Dessalines, Haiti approached International Action seeking our help. There are 150,000 people in four villages in the Artibonite Valley that need clean water. We have met with Father Dessalines and we will begin installing chlorinators in early 2013.
In partnership with St. Ann Catholic parish, Father Dessalines and the members of St. Ann’s started a school feeding program and currently feed 720 children daily. Together they also teach basic hygiene and water sanitation to adults and children to prevent the spread of disease like typhoid and cholera. But, the need for clean water was still great, especially after the cholera outbreak in 2010.
Father Dessalines first responded to the cholera outbreak by working with Food for the Poor to install a large solar powered water treatment system in the town of Dessalines. The small villages of Fabias, Poste Pierrot, Oge, Haute Feuille, and Hatte Chevreau still lacked access to clean water. Most Haitians in these villages rely on community wells, rivers, or canal waters for their main source of water, which are often contaminated.
In spring 2012, The Sunrise Rotary Club of Hagerstown approached St. Ann about raising funds to provide water treatment systems for up to 5 villages. Father Dessalines and several members of St. Ann’s parish were very excited.
The church members and Father Dessalines knew they needed a water purification system that was simple, affordable, and easy to maintain. They contacted many groups that had very effective water treatment systems, but they were too expensive. During their search, Father Dessalines came across our chlorinators in the coastal town of St. Marc. He was very impressed by what he saw.
The first thing Father Dessalines told us when we met him was, “The people there are very happy with your chlorine system.”
With the funds raised by the Rotary clubs we will be able to install the chlorinators needed to provide, the 150,000 Haitians in Fabias, Poste Pierrot, Oge, Haute Feuille, and Hatte Chevreau with permanent access to clean water.