2-2-10 Update from our Haiti Director Dalebrun Esther

We’ve received critical updates from our Haiti Director Dalebrun Esther yesterday.

1. Satellite Phone

Dalebrun has just received the satellite phone that the IA office sent to Port-au-Prince. We acquired it to improve communication between Haiti and the DC-based office. The phone was tested, both making and receiving calls, with limited success. Dalebrun was able to make a call to one of our volunteers, but was cut off after about 30 seconds. We’re looking into it.

2. Banking

The bank that IA is using is working, and we are now able to send money to Dalebrun for our everyday operating costs, including leasing private reservoirs to provide water to Haitian neighborhoods.

3. Networking

In Petionville, Dalebrun has been attending water, sanitation, and hygiene meetings with DINEPA, the Haiti water agency; UN bodies; and leading humanitarian and disaster response groups. Although very limited steps for actual coordination took place, it was a positive first step for future meetings. Dalebrun was also able to network with a counterpart from a well-known aid group. They laid the groundwork for a possible partnership in distributed water in Port-au-Prince by using IA’s chlorine tablets and the other group’s trucks.

4. Other Constraints and Challenges

Dalebrun was unable to rent any trucks for water delivery last weekend because competing truck demand by the CICR (Red Cross) and DINEPA was so sharp. Dalebrun did distribute water with IA’s truck, equivalent to about one 3,100-gallon load per day. However, the demand is still many times what we are able to supply.

Dalebrun is understandably overworked, and looking for an assistant bookkeeper to take care of some of his responsibilities.

5. Opportunities

Dalebrun agreed with the DC-office idea of purchasing and distributed 34 2000-gallon plastic tanks to replace damaged and destroyed ones. He believes it will offer us another chance to work with groups such as the Red Cross.

Below are fresh pictures of Dlo Pwop/International Action’s recent work in Haiti:

A local Haitian group is delivering water to 200,000 Haitians each day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington D.C. January 26, 2010 – After the Earthquake two weeks ago, a local Haitian group developed a system in which they are helping to deliver water to Haitians. Haitians are helping Haitians. The Haitian group Dlo Pwop (clean water in creole) is affiliated with International Action. Dlo Pwop/International Action supplies 200,000 Haitians with one gallon of clean water each day.

This local Haitian group located water storage tanks which are undamaged and able to hold at least 1600 gallons each. The local group is now paying local water truckers to fill storage tanks and to deliver drinkable water directly to the population in the poorest parts of Port-au-Prince.

Dlo Pwop/International Action is adding chlorine to each truckload of water. Each truck holds 3000 gallons of water and can make 5 trips a day to many parts of the city.

So far, Dlo Pwop/International Action has been renting 10 trucks each day and plans on renting still more as roads are cleared of earthquake debris.

Since May of 2006 until before the quake, Dlo Pwop/International Action had installed chlorinators on 140 water tanks in Port-au-Prince. From these tanks the group then supplied drinkable water on a daily basis to pre-earthquake 400,000 Haitians.

In the first three days after the quake, Dalebrun Esther, the director of Dlo Pwop, supplied 20,000 gallons of water to the poorest neighborhoods using the group’s small tank truck. Now he devotes his time to recruiting commercial truckers who normally haul water to wealthy neighborhoods where residents pay high sums for water. In this critical time, International Action is funding these high priced truckers to redirect them to poor neighborhoods and the Haitian staff is adding chlorine for safety.

International Action is developing a plan for rebuilding at least 23 water tanks damaged by the quake and for adding water tanks in those neighborhoods currently without water tanks. This effort will reach 2 million residents in a period of 5 years.

More funding and more support from CAMEP – the city’s water agency – and even help from the US military now in Haiti could speed up the schedule. Groups that want to cooperate can reach International Action at info@HaitiWater.org or 202-488-0735. Staff are Lindsay Mattison, Youngmin Chang and Jeffrey Sejour (Jeff speaks Creole). In Haiti, call Dalebrun Esther at (509) 554-5549 and (509) 3712-6918. Chlorinatos are made by Norweco at Norwalk, OH and chlorine tablets are made by Arch Chemicals at Norwalk, CT. Donations can be made through International Action’s website, www.HaitiWater.org.

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