With your support, we will be able to provide village after village in the Artibonite Region (central Haiti) -- of up to 10,000 people in each -- with the means to gain lifetime access to clean, safe water.
Newly Installed Chlorination System in the Artibonite Region
In the Artibonite Region of Haiti, for the first time, we are in the midst of finishing a chlorinator project that we will be able to leave completely in the hands of the Haitian people.
The Clean Water for the Artibonite Region of Haiti Project —Background
In partnership with Sunrise Rotary (the local Rotary in Haiti) and St. Anne’s church from Hagerstown, Maryland, International Action has installed four chlorinators, water pumps (run on generators), piping systems, and water reservoirs in four communities nearby Dessalines, the center of the Artibonite region of Haiti. For each installation, a water committee of three members has been elected by the communities to operate, maintain and collect the local funds needed to sustain these systems. The most important part about this project is that it allows for a self-sustainable water treatment system after International Action has completed the design and installation.
The Clean Water for the Artibonite Region of Haiti project is almost finished. 16,000 Haitian families are ready to have long-term access to clean, safe water. We need another $7,060 to make this happen. Most of these funds will be used to ensure the project's sustainability.
Children need vitamins to grow strong and protect them from illnesses. Many children in Haiti do not have access to enough vitamin A and other essential vitamins. In 2015, we will be providing 44,000 Haitian children the vitamins that they need to grow up happy and healthy.
The construction plans for the Chlorine Distribution Center are complete -- the system by which communities purchase and transport the chlorine they need with their own resources. The elected community representatives have been trained and are excited to begin.
I first came to Haiti with Project Hope a year before the earthquake and knew I would be back. After retiring from nursing, I looked for a place in Haiti to volunteer with and came across a young Haitian American's mission, Mission Starfish Haiti.
This past July we finished an installation in a small town of Fabias in Saint Marc. We were contacted by a local church in Hagerstown, MD to help bring clean water to a school that they sponsor in Fabias. We were inclined to help because this was near the area where the chlorea outbreak first appeared. We made a site visit to access how we could help them and we went back and did an installation of a 2,000 gallons reservoir and chlorinator which are fully functional. Water from the well is pumped up twice a day to fill the reservoir.
In the last couple of months we have made great progress in advancing our mission to de-worm Haiti. Much of Haiti’s population is infected with intestinal worms that can take almost 20% of a person’s daily nutritional intake. This is especially damaging to children who then suffer from malnutrition and even risk death, despite already struggling to be fed.
Jeffery Sejour, Associate Director, being interviewed on CNN
Last month, International Action Director, Jeffery Sejour, had a very successful trip to visit our operations in Haiti. Not only was he able to oversee a brand new clean water project but was also able to contribute to a very special CNN report on the continuous clean water and cholera crisis in Haiti.
Every year Haiti’s rainy season brings a new wave of challenges to Haiti. Here, rain means days spent inside, rain boots, and avoiding getting splashed by cars while walking down the street; in Haiti, the rainy season is far more than a nuisance, it is devastating. The rainy season brings a fresh wave of cholera and other diseases as well as the constant threat of flooding.
World Water Day (Saturday, March 22nd) is almost here! This week, International Action will be remembering the hundreds of millions worldwide who struggle each day to survive without one of the most basic of life necessities - clean water. Using the momentum of this important day, we ask that you please support World Water Day and International Action’s vision of universal access to clean, life-saving water.
International Women’s Day is this week and with this in mind it is important to remember what great things can happen from empowering girls. The majority of people in Haiti don’t have access to clean drinking water. The water that they have access to is potentially incredibly dangerous. What this means is that instead of being in school, many young girls are at home, sick. We are trying to bring a safer, brighter future to Haitian girls in more ways than one. Haiti is one of the world’s poorest countries with many people live on less than $2 a day.
Jean is 12 years old. His story is a resonating one, which offers hope and shows how chlorine is so instrumental in improving health in Haiti. Jean lives with his 7 brothers and sisters and his father, who is slowly going blind.
“Heroes of the Sun” is a film in the making by award-winning filmmaker and producer, Fabienne Lips-Dumas. She travels into the heart of Haiti’s biggest slum Cité Soleil, where life is plagued by poverty and violence. Featured in the film are International Action and other non-profit groups. The documentary tells a story of promise and light capturing the resilience, pride and solidarity of Haitians in the midst of their struggle to survive.
The communities we work with are teeming with excitement as the chlorine distribution center comes closer to completion. Gaining access to safe water saves people’s lives. It also empowers them if they have the power and responsibility to maintain their clean water supply themselves.
The solar panels at St. Laurent. These panels power the solar pump.
We have found an affordable solar pump system that works with our chlorinators. This is a way for us to bring clean water to communities without access to electricity or gravity-fed pipe systems. It will cost $25,000 to install the next nine solar pumps and chlorinators, which will be in the Artibonite region.
We are creating the Chlorine Distribution System because we cannot forget the 900,000 Haitians that already have chlorinators -- the devices do not maintain themselves. Haitian neighborhoods that have a chlorinator want to ensure that they will be able to use their chlorinators indefinitely. The Chlorine Distribution System will provide this assurance.
Sadly, one third of the children in Haiti have Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD). VAD diminishes the immune system’s ability to fight infections, contributes to maternal mortality, and if severe enough, can cause permanent blindness. Next week, we are transporting enough vitamin A to help over 21,000 Haitian children.
Saturday January 12th, 2013 marked the third year anniversary since Haiti was victim to a catastrophic earthquake. We ask that you please take a moment and remember the people that lost their lives and those that were affected by the tragic event.
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.
DINEPA, Haiti's national water agency, is very interested in expanding the future Chlorine Bank Network to the South Department of Haiti within the first 6 months of 2013. Dalebrun Esther, International Action's Director of Operations, met with DINEPA last week. Here is what he reported:
Hurricane Sandy has swept through Cuba, Jamaica, and Haiti. Government officials in Haiti are still assessing the damages caused by Sandy. The Hurricane comes on the heels of Tropical Storm Isaac, which killed 24 Haitians and forced many to abandon their homes temporarily.
October 15 is Global Handwashing Day! Washing your hands can decrease the risk of waterborne diseases by 20% and the risk of respiratory infection by 25%. It is especially important in places that lack effective water treatment and sewage systems. Please take some time to spread the word about hand washing, support a group that actively works to promote hygiene, or simply remember to wash your own hands with soap.
International Action has the complete support of Denis O-Brien, the founder of Digicel and the Chairman of the Clinton Global Initiative's Haiti Action Network. In a letter to the Director of DINEPA, Haiti's water agency, Mr. O'Brien clearly states his unwavering support for International Action's efforts to help nearly 1,000,000 gain access to clean water.
Every community in Haiti needs a water station with chlorinator like this one
There is a misconception that the cholera epidemic in Haiti is over. While the media coverage of the cholera epidemic has all but stopped, the spread of cholera has not. It still threatens hundreds of people’s lives everyday.
International Action is trucking water all day long to bring clean, safe water to Haitians displaced by Tropical Storm Isaac. Your support is urgently needed to help us continue our water trucking efforts.
Jeff Sejour and Zach just returned from Haiti: They found that most neighborhoods in Haiti are operating their own water stations and chlorinators independently and successfully. However, International Action delivers the chlorine tablets, which the chlorinators need to work. There are no distribution centers for chlorine tablets in Haiti besides International Action. There are tablets available at an import-export company, but they are sold individually at a very expensive rate.
A month and a half of hard work has yielded substantial results in the Southeast. 65,775 Haitian Southeast residents and students now have clean water because of our work over the past month and a half. That means that a total of 108,215 people are drinking clean water every day in the Southeast thanks to the hard work of community and school leaders, our staff, and you.
The progress of the Southeast Water Project continues. Working with DINPEA (the Haitian Water Agency), International Action has installed chlorinators, water tanks, and water pumps at 5 more schools. Three of these schools are the educational homes of more than 2,000 children each. These schools need a lot of water.
This cannot be said enough: Clean, safe water increases school attendance and a child’s ability to learn.
The new chlorinator, water tank, and water pump at K-Rock
Ecole Nationale de K-Rock in Jacmel is home to 2,000 students. Before this past month, there was no clean, safe water to be had at K-Rock. International Action changed this with the installation of a chlorinator, water tank, and water pump.
We have been championing cooperation among NGOs for some time in Haiti; it is a necessity to work with Haitian communities and other NGOs to make lasting change in Haiti. Cooperation has been built into our work in Haiti from the beginning. For every chlorinator we have installed, we coordinated with the involved Haitian community, DINEPA, and often with other NGOs. We then took this model of cooperation to our Cholera Prevention Consortium last year, in which International Action and 35 different groups disbursed chlorine to over 400,000 Haitians.
We are charging ahead with the Sud-Est Clean Water Initiative. By the end of May, we will have installed water treatment systems in 53 more schools and many hospitals and public office buildings. February 7, 2012 marked the start of our full schedule of water treatment installations in the south-east of Haiti. We will complete three installations a week. You can check out reports from the field to follow our progress.
Many water stations in Port-au-Prince are not open at night, because it has not been safe to keep them open. The neighborhoods in Haiti are without street lights, they have no light. It is not safe for women and children and to walk alone. Our new street lights make it safe for women and children to access the water they need at night. We have now brought 10 solar street lights to Haiti.
International Action's Sud-Est water project aims to install chlorinators, water tanks, and water pumps in 54 schools and many communities in the Sud-Est department of Haiti. So far, we have completed installations at eight schools and three community water sites.
International Action installed a 150-gallon tank and chlorinator at Collège les Quatre Evangelistes, a school located in the Sud-Est city of Marigot (just outside Jacmel). Now, 103 students, their families, and nearby residents in the neighborhood have access to clean, safe water.
The award-winning film follows the return of two Haitian brothers to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 to commemorate their grandfather's passing. To celebrate the life of the man who molded their childhood, they begin to build a kite. While they are building the kite they record the experiences of their countrymen. The kite eventually becomes a tapestry, depicting life in Haiti after the earthquake. Starting on January 12, 2012, you can share in their experience as LIFT UP will be released online at http://liftupmovie.com
In collaboration with fellow Clinton Global Initiative Haiti Action Network member Architecture for Humanity, International Action has installed the first clean water system for the Southeast water project at École La Dignité, a primary school in the town of Cayes-Jacmel. École La Dignité, headed by Mrs. Vivianne Vieux, is the only free private school in Jacmel.
Water is essential to our survival. Imagine being without it or having to walk hours to have access to the most vital commodity that we need to go about our daily activities. — Madame Nicole Defay, Director of Williamson Village in Haiti
A year after the cholera outbreak, the infection has sickened close to half a million Haitians, and experts fear that the number of dead may reach 10,000 by the end of the year. It is, says Paul Farmer of Partners in Health, "far and away the biggest epidemic in the world right now."
Does your organization work with children in Haiti? If so, help us fight malnutrition and dysentery, and boost school attendance, by distributing albendazole de-worming pills.
We have a supply of albendazole de-worming pills ready for distribution from our warehouse in Port-au-Prince. If your group works with a school or clinic in Haiti, why not partner with us to combat this scourge? Complete our Albendazole Request Form.
By providing potable water to disadvantaged neighborhoods in Haiti, we expected that the residents’ lives would improve. They did, however an unlikely and unfortunate consequence presented itself; if people needed to collect water at night, how would they do so safely? There have long been reports of armed robbery and sexual assault (as people in Haiti call “kadejak”) at communal water stations.
Children and Missions of Love staff at the Good Shepard Orphanage
The percentage of Haitian people currently infected with worms is staggering; nearly 80% of Haiti’s 9.7 million people have some form of intestinal worms. These parasites are especially threatening to children who are malnourished already; intestinal worms can consume up to 20% of a child’s daily intake. Being infected can lead to dysentery, stunted growth, learning disabilities, and habitual fatigue.
Believe it or not, even in the second decade of the 21st century, only 52% of Haitians between 15 and 24 years of age are literate. Haiti also faces a shortage of education supplies, severely hindering young Haitians’ chances of building a better future for themselves and their country.
Since October 2010, the death toll from cholera has reached 6,435. The Haitian Health Ministry places the number of people infected just under 500,000. The mode of transport of cholera from person to person is unclean water; other illnesses profit from untreated water, such as chronic diarrhea, hepatitis, and typhoid fever.
Back to School! For students starting the new school year at Collège Chrétien Emmanuel, Ecole Nationale de Thozin, and Collège Vision Moderne, back to school supplies include: paper? (check)—pencils? (check)—uniform? (check)—and clean water? CHECK!
In July of this year, we installed clean water systems at these three schools, ensuring the 2,193 students would have access to clean, safe water for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year.
One of the displaced-persons camps in Port-au-Prince, called Martissant 2A, has developed into a sprawling shantytown of 35,000 people and also gained the nickname “the lawless zone,” due to how under-served its residents are. In July of 2011, DINEPA (the Haitian government’s water agency) undertook the responsibility of building five water stations around the area, with the aid of the International Organization for Migration and the International Red Cross.
Eric Harshfield and Shivani Jain, two graduate students from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, are providing a six-week evaluation of International Action's flagship program – Campaign for Clean Water in Haiti. This is our community-based chlorinator and water storage tank program. The primary custodians of this project are the community leaders and members, who have an invaluable role in every step of the process.
Thanks to International Action, Institution Vision pour le Developement de Delmas has a 2,000-gallon tank and chlorinator. There was no clean water in this neighborhood. Now there is. Residents have reported that 16,000 people are benefiting, but more tanks are needed.
The mayor of Delmas' compound – also known as the "Palace of Delmas" – contacted International Action, because they needed clean water. We installed a 2,000-gallon tank and two chlorinators. This tank provides safe water for employees and communities that work with the mayor. Government officials and the president are among those who make appearances at the compound.
To further the "return home" goal, International Action installed two chlorinators in the neighborhood of Cité-aux-Cayes while DINEPA has worked to restore water there. Also, a school with over 200 students in Cité Soleil received a 150-gallon water tank.
International Action is working with the CICR (Red Cross) to return clean water to the slums in Port-au-Prince. Our role in this partnership is to disinfect the water. The project is being realized in the neighborhood of Drouillard, a commune of Cité Soleil.
International Action installed a 2000-gallon water tank and chlorinator at the Community Center of the Haitian-American Caucus in the commune of Croix-des-Bouquets. Students, professors, and the community of Michauad will now have access to clean water. The goal of the school is to "foster sustainable changes in the Haitian community through volunteerism, community service, social programs, and partnerships with other organization with similar goals."
International Action and Action Against Hunger have partnered to reestablish water infrastructure in the poorest neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince. Mont Jolie is one of these communities. Some 2,000 people call Mont Jolie home, but nearly 30,000 come to this neighborhood to get clean water.
International Action’s Haiti office is distributing 500,000 albendazole de-worming pills to protect Haiti’s communities and get its children healthy and back in school. The pills are available free of charge to non-profit or community organizations that can administer them.
Cholera resurgence is heavily hitting the community of Carrefour. Our team will focus its efforts in that zone to bring a solid response. We will work with the local community such as the mayor, delegates, and water board leaders.
International Action installed a 2,000-gallon water storage tank at a maternal clinic in the Boston section of Cité Soleil, the most impoverished town in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Our water tank will supply patients at the clinic as well as local residents with clean drinking water. According to the head of the clinic, more than 7,000 people live in the neighborhood. Shelly Chvotzkin – an employee at the clinic – has stated, "This will help us to better care for our patients and have a bigger impact on their lives as well as help us save lives!"
International Action installed a 2000-gallon water tank to provide clean drinking water to an orphanage, school, and church in Lison. The community had no drinking water infrastructure. Our recently installed chlorinator and water tank will disinfect drinking water for children at the aforementioned institutions and more than 400 residents in the neighborhood.
The local leaders of Rosenberg contacted International Action and requested for help. Previously, residents with enough resources purchased water from a privately owned water kiosk at 7 gourdes (US 17 cents) per gallon. The poor gathered any water they could from wells with untreated water. Upon the leaders’ request International Action installed a 2000-gallon water and a chlorinator, which will provide clean drinking water to the residents of Rosenberg.
First I would like to thank International Action for the positive work they are doing in my country, Haiti. Thank you for targeting the issues at their root by trying to eliminate the problem, not just dealing with the negative outcomes. The purpose of my email is to inform International Action that I will be having a medical mission in Carrefour, Haiti at the College Elie Blaise starting Saturday, June 25. During the mission we will offer complete physical examination, screening (diabetes & blood pressure), eye exams, patient education to raise awareness, screening and treatment for malnutrition, acid reflux, wound care and much more.
Day after day in May it rained in Port-au-Prince. Wesley Laîné reported to us,
Children were huddled up under blue tarps and tents, praying, hoping that the rain would stop. It does not.
This morning, gutters, and sewers are overflowing with rainwater mixed with mud and trash. For many, it will be their only source of drinking water. Some will bathe in it. Others will use it to cook. The end result will be the same, more waterborne illnesses and more deaths.
In April, Dalebrun Esther sent us a list of new major installations with 2000-gallon tanks. This most recent report from Dalebrun Esther – our Haitian director – lists the following new chlorinator installations:
Bertin is the biggest slum in the town of Carrefour and is located 5 miles west of the center of Port-au-Prince. The neighborhood is very poor and ill-serviced and has an estimated population of over 400,000 people. International Action installed 10 chlorinators between 2006 and 2007 and has been working with local water board members to maintain chlorinators and distribute de-worming pills.
International Action has installed several chlorinators to provide clean, safe drinking water to the town of Croix-des-Bouquets, a northern suburb in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. The number of locations with access to clean water continues to expand.The newest on that list is the LOCC Mission orphanage.
International Action installed a 150-gallon water tank to provide more water storage for the Delmas Commercial Center, formerly known as the National Television of Haiti building. Delmas has much of the capital’s commercial and industrial enterprises. The Commercial Center has more than 400 shopkeepers. None of them had access to water or sanitation before the presence of our 150-gallon water tank and chlorinator that is now providing safe, clean drinking water to the shopkeepers. Our Chlorine test after the installation shows that there are no more waterborne disease-causing bacteria.
The ARCHIVE institute is an organization that builds housing in order to improve the overall health of the people served. They recently contacted us, because they need assistance fitting one of their newer projects with the physical infrastructure necessary for safe drinking water. This project aims to help two small housing projects as well as an orphanage. The housing project is specifically designed for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Doug Frye, an assistant minister at the Rio Revolution Church, recently contacted International Action because of our water treatment expertise. This church creates prison ministries and maintains an orphanage in Haiti. Upon their last visit to the Mirbalais prison, it became apparent to them that the standard of water quality in the prison was atrocious, causing widespread disease in the inmate population.
The Communities in Schools Dallas Region (CISDR) is a stay-in-school program, founded in 1985.CISDR partnered with the Exxon Mobil program Girls Exploring Math and Science.The two groups will participate in the 2010 TEDxKids event. One of the goals of the event was to have the participating students complete a service learning project. These students chose to support the Haitian De-Worming project because they felt they could make a positive impact in the lives of many Haitians. They rallied together and created a penny drive in order to purchase and ship albendazole tablets to Haiti. Their tagline was simple: one penny is enough to rid one person of debilitating intestinal worms. There campaign was so successful, that they raised $1816.29!
In the midst of preparing many IDP camps for the rainy season in Haiti, International Action was contacted by a NGO working directly will internally displaced person camps in Carrefour. Action Humanitaire is an organization helping the residents of Camp Wouj Tapis, an IDP camp with 13,000 residents that lack access to safe water and food.
Recently, International Action was contacted by an organization called Join the Journey, a Christian humanitarian organization, regarding the situation in the tent city of Capvva. This IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp located near Cité Soleil in the northeast corner of Port-au-Prince, is full of Haitians still displaced from the January 2010 Earthquake that ravaged the country.
Early this morning a homeless Haitian boy kneeled by an open drainage ditch to clean himself up. Due to the increased rainfall experienced during the rainy season, the drainage ditch is at the brink of overflow, allowing this boy to wash his hands and face with its waters. This water is contaminated.
In the midst of numerous water projects in Port-au-Prince and provincial towns in Haiti, International Action was made aware of the Haiti Clinic’s dire water situation. There simply was no water. Haiti Clinic, located in Cité Soleil, is a maternal clinic that provides free healthcare to the neighborhood residents. The clinic was in dire need of clean water to meet the needs of its patients and staff. Its patients, mostly comprised of pregnant women and children, were going thirsty during their visits to the clinic.
Please take a look at the first photos of our first water delivery in the schools. This particular schools is situated in the largest IDP (Internally Displace Person) camp in Corail, Haiti. There are 136 students, 6 professors, 10 staffers. Most of the children are orphans from the January 2010 earthquake.
International Action is excited to introduce our newest campaign in Haiti. The Campaign for Clean Water for Schools aims to bring clean water to all students enrolled in schools in Cité Soleil, one of the poorest slums in the capital of Port-Au- Prince. The goal of the campaign is clear: bring clean water to students so that they may focus on their education rather than be debilitated by stomach aches and diarrhea caused by dirty, bacteria ridden water. By focusing on their education, they can rise up and overcome the cycle of poverty that they currently exist in.
DINEPA official checks out IA tank and chlorinator
The National Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation (DINEPA), in collaboration with the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF), invited International Action and other non-profit entities in Haiti to participate in an exhibition and panel discussion to commemorate World Water Day 2011. The event dedicated to water challenges in Haiti, featured International Action’s water tank and chlorinator and its dedication to make clean water a reality for the most impoverished people in Haiti.
In response to the growing demands for clean water from the internally displaced people living in camps throughout Port-au-Prince, International Action has launched a new initiative to fulfill the urgent requests for intervention. We purchased a new water truck, 1,000-gallon capacity, which will serve several camps, clinics, and schools in the metropolitan Port-au-Prince area.
Having grown up in Haiti, I understand the acute dangers of living without clean water. I remember vividly the small worms that we had to remove by hand in the water buckets in our house. The frequent trips to the local clinic were a constant reminder that each sip of water was a risk. As a result, ensuring that water is safe, secure, and sustainable for my younger Haitian brothers and sisters has always been a personal and professional priority. International Action has granted me the opportunity to do just that.
The most amazing element of the Holiday season is neither the surprising gifts nor the delicious food; it is the loving spirit of togetherness and love that drives the holiday magic. When fully understood and embraced as such, suddenly, the foods taste better, the lights shine brighter, and the moments seem perfect.
A reason to give thanks! Clean Water in the city of l'Estère!
Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is two days away. Although it has been a very difficult year for many of us, Thanksgiving Day always offers us an amazing opportunity to reflect and express gratitude for the often-overlooked blessings in our lives. Without a doubt, if you are able to read this newsletter, you are blessed in so many ways. And you may ask, how? According to one of my favorite authors, Anna Quindlen, the answer is very simple; one simply has to realize that life is the best thing ever, and you have no business taking it for granted. The people of Haiti understand this too well.
The great American novelist and activist, James Baldwin, once said that we must look unblinkingly at the circumstances, confront the constructed reality, face the tears of the wounded, and harness ourselves to a great collective effort toward justice.
Two weeks ago, a powerful storm plowed through Haiti, destroying thousands of tents and battering camp clinics, schools, and childcare facilities. The vast majority of the 1.3 million homeless in Port-au-Prince have little more than flimsy tarps protecting them from the onslaught of additional seasonal hurricanes. Countless "bladders"—large plastic bags continuously filled by trucks for water distribution in displaced persons camps—were also badly damaged.
Last week, a standard early-fall storm swept through the city of Port-au-Prince. In a span of 10 minutes, the strong winds damaged thousands of tents, injured many, and killed at least 5 people. With most of the quake's 1.5 million homeless survivors still living in sprawling tent cities, the heavy rainfall left them at a dangerous public health crossroad. The precarious water supply is forcing many to drink from the rainwater flowing from gutters and sewers. Hence, more people will be fighting deadly waterborne diseases.
In the last month, International Action has reached an additional 21,235 Haitians with safe, potable water, and more and more charitable and humanitarian aid groups are getting interested in our crucial, lifesaving work and chlorinator technology.
Inscribed in the middle of the Haitian flag is the powerful national motto, L'union fait la force, literally translated in English as, unity creates strength. Indeed, International Action believes that through partnerships with other organizations, our collective work will have a greater impact in our respective target communities. Without a doubt, intra-agency cooperation with various entities has been a key element to our overall success in Haiti's water and sanitation sector.
Last week, I returned from conducting a 6-month post-quake assessment of our clean water program in Haiti. What I saw was truly heart-wrenching. Vast stretches of displaced persons camps and countless makeshift shelters on the street. People collecting filthy grey-water from trash-strewn drainage ditches. Open sewers.
Women and children walk long distances for International Action-supplied clean water
Almost 5 months after the quake, Port-au-Prince's public water infrastructure still lies in disarray. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, while diarrhea cases have remained low in the city, limited water supply for affected communities and displaced persons camps has translated into inadequate quantities of water for even basic hygiene. Many camps have already seen a rise in skin diseases.
A few weeks ago, we were urged to join Global Giving – a website devoted to helping select causes. We did so.
To qualify, we needed to pass Global Giving's Open Challenge to have 50 donors give a minimum of $4,000 by midnight April 26th. Our donors came through, along with their friends and family. So far, we have raised $6,353 from 74 donors, but there are still 2 weeks to go.
In Haiti, more than 230,000 have lost their lives to last January's quake. One estimate predicted that the final death toll may reach as high as 500,000. More casualties from preventable, water-borne diseases, like chronic diarrhea, hepatitis, cholera, and typhoid in the upcoming rainy season are expected.
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.
For the past few weeks, all of our resources have been devoted to responding to the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti last month. As you know, much of the pre-existing water system suffered extensive damage during the quake, and tens of thousands in Port-au-Prince remain without a safe, reliable water supply.
The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is creating a map of the Haiti water system based on information from multiple water sources, including International Action. Because this map will have precise data about the water infrastructure in Haiti, it will aid humanitarian efforts to provide water in the wake of the crisis.
We have received gifts totaling $200,000 from Child Relief International, the Mitchell Foundation, Glickenhaus Foundation, Ed Rawson's Ravenscroft Foundation, Arch Chemicals, and the Chlorine Chemistry Foundation. This includes the first payment of $100,000 for a $500,000 pledge. The funding covers our initial spending for chlorine, chlorinators, staff, and water truck rentals in the Haitian Earthquake crisis.
Dalebrun Esther, our director of operations in Haiti, sent photos along with his update about the situation in Haiti after the earthquake.
I am negotiating with owners of private reservoirs in Cité Soleil. No food or water is available in the worst slum, Cité Soleil. I will focus our work on bringing clean water to Cité Soleil by working with owners of reservoirs in the communities.
We need your help right now in Port-au-Prince. The earthquake knocked out many neighborhood water tanks, but 28 have survived. However, no water is coming to these tanks from the local water agency (CAMEP). So Dalebrun Esther – our Haitian Director – has designed a system to supply water.
We are helping the US task force going to Haiti to rebuild the water system in Port-au-Prince. We have given them our list of all water systems in the capital city, gallons each produces and population served.
This is a neighborhood water station in Port-au-Prince with the mothers and girls gathered to fill their buckets. Each bucket is 40 pounds of water. Until you and I treated the water with chlorine, this fountain spread cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and chronic diarrhea to the children. But it was the only source for drinking and cooking.
Andrew Weiss, a trustee of International Action, received a certificate of recognition from former President Bill Clinton at the Annual Meeting of Clinton's Global Initiative in New York City on September 25. Weiss was joined onstage with Clinton by six other non-governmental groups including Partners in Health, FONKOZE, and Habitat for Humanity International, all, "who have done some extraordinary work in Haiti."
The first urban chlorination system designed for developing countries is operating in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, announced Andrew Weiss at the Clinton Global initiative meeting in New York City today.
It's a great success. Installed on 150 public water tanks in Haiti’s capital city, the chlorination big city system is supplying 400,000 residents with clean, safe water. This is the first time Haitians have had access to clean water for cooking and drinking.
After spending the first few years installing chlorinators in Port-au-Prince in the West and in the provinces of the Center, International Action has installed its very first chlorinator in the South of the island near Jacmel – a city renowned for its beautiful beaches.
International Action recently installed one LF 1000 chlorinator in Domond; a town located about 15 km away from the city of Mirebalais. This neighborhood was formed under the government of Francois Duvalier. The Péligre dam project for the biggest hydrolelectric factory in the country, led the President to relocate people of the region who lost their land and goods in this small area now called Domond.
International Action just installed two more chlorinators in Cité Soleil! The School Foyer Elohim requested a visit from us in their school last month to evaluate the site and see if we could provide them with one of our water treatment systems.
Cité Gérard is one of the 47 sections of Cité Soleil. Like many of its neighboring communities, the community of Cité Gérard had been in recent years in a state of dramatic violence. Since 2006, the violence has gone down only to be replaced by rampant poverty. In Cité Gérard, insalubrities, famine, low rate of school enrollment, and a very high birth rate all have kept the population in a grave state of misery.
The mission of le Bon Samaritain founded in 1989 by a Canadian named René Marcotte in the city of Montrouis, a coastal town located in the West Department north of Port-au-Prince. Since its creation, the mission has repaired and built many schools in the region, founded an orphanage and recently erected a two story clinic with a lab and pharmacy. The staff immediately decided to use the clinic as a point of clean water distribution for the patients as well as the population. A filtering system was installed but due to technical difficulties the project had to be terminated.
In Haiti, the place to start is water. That is the message of our short film (seven minutes) about the work of International Action in Port-au-Prince.
"It's a heartbreak," comments Sister Michele-Marie about typhoid, hepatitis and chronic diarrhea the children get from dirty water. Sister Michele is a star in the film and a powerful spokeswoman for clean water.
On March 12, 2009, the International Action staff installed two chlorinators on a 9000-gallon concrete tank at the St. Jean Bosco School in the Saline district of Port-au-Prince. It will serve 500 students immediately.
Recently two members of our Washington Staff – Youngmin Chang and Amélie Cardon – visited several of the poorest and most dangerous parts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Their purpose was to see our De-Worming Haiti Campaign in action.
We have begun distributing a pill - Albendazole - to Haitians in the 30 neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, Haiti where we have chlorinators. We have given out 90,000 pills so far and have 400,000 doses yet to distribute.
Mostly, we are using the members of our local water boards - now more than 1000 members - to distribute the pills. The initial feedback is excellent:
In Port-au-Prince, Dalebrun and our team of plumbers go around our circuit of neighborhoods to check the chlorinator installations and supply water boards with chlorine tablets; this month the team also brought with them boxes of de-worming albendazole pills.
This month the residents of Port-au-Prince are suffering from important water shortages. In an effort to relieve them Dalebrun Esther and our team of plumbers have been going around the poorest neighborhoods of the capital on a rotating basis and supplying the population with clean, safe water; this prevents unsafe behaviors such as using water from contaminated rivers for drinking, cooking and bathing.
A drastic increase in violent crimes has recently taken jails of Haiti way beyond their capacity. According to Clarens Renois from the caribbeannetnews.com, inmates live in inhuman conditions. "Amid increasing arrests of drug traffickers, kidnappers and the arrival of numerous Haitian criminals extradited from Canada and the United States... inmates often lack water, medical care or enough room to sleep lying down." Haiti's Penitentiary Administration Director, Jean-Roland Célestin, admits, "Conditions inside are awful. The facilities are overwhelmed and no longer meet international standards, but we cannot do any better."
There is a way to disinfect water using only sunlight and plastic bottles. Contaminated water is put into clear plastic bottles and exposed to strong full sun for 6 hours. Placing the bottles on a roof for six hours will do the job.
During the month of October, our team in Haiti has been making a lot of progress on helping populations that have been struck by hurricanes Gustav, Hanna, and Ike. We have installed a large chlorinator in Arcahaie, a town located on the Western coast about 20 miles above Port-au-Prince. This chlorinator provides clean water for the 100,000 inhabitants. In collaboration with CAMEP, the entity in charge of water supply in the Metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince, three more chlorinators have been set up on water tanks in Delmas 65 and Foyeau-ville, two neighborhoods of the capital.
We just received 500,000 doses of de-worming medicine in Port-au-Prince. We will distribute the pills through our local Water Boards in 23 neighborhoods and several school systems in the city.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says worms eat up to 20% of a child's nutritional intake everyday. Haitians are among the poorest fed children in the world, and no child there can afford to lose 20% of their food.
From September 1 to September 9 2008, Haiti endured a tragedy. Three of the four hurricanes that hit Haiti, destroyed every household in almost all of the 10 departments of the country and the entire food supply. This catastrophe caused extremely high water pollution. To overcome this epidemic, AME-SADA the humanitarian relief and development entity of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, asked International Action in treating some of the polluted water supplies. On the first day the team treated nine wells in Cabaret. This effort provided a dozen families with safe drinking water.
My name is Paulette Champagne. I am 55 years old. I have lived in this neighborhood of Port-au-Prince – Villa Rosa – for 22 years. I ask you to please transmit not only my thanks, but the thanks of all the residents of Villa Rosa to your principal donors.
In July, International Action installed chlorinators in three schools providing clean and safe water to 1,633 children. International Action's intervention is a miracle according to Dr. Rémy, the pediatrician in charge of the schools for the African Methodist Episcopal Church Service and Development Agency (AME-SADA). Before the installations, children would go all day without water and sometimes faint to the dismay of their teacher. Now the chlorinators will provide them with clean water and give them the energy to focus and be livelier in class.
This month the focus is on schools, and providing clean water to students in need. We are working with AME-SADA, an organization that works to improve schools and nutrition centers. Certain schools do not have any chance to benefit from our chlorinators because of lack of infrastructure or water supply, but we have found three schools where installations will be possible. A pediatrician working for AME-SADA, tells us that the water makes the children sick with typhoid, malaria, and diarrhea. After we installed a chlorinator, these illnesses have evaporated. Dr. Remy claims that it's the highest satisfaction the students have ever had during the 2007-2008 school year. Neighbors are amazed with our work.
Holding as many as 20 four-inch tablets of chlorine, the chlorinators we use in Port-au-Prince can treat 5,000 gallons of water each day. Most of our sites serve up to 10,000 Haitians by providing water to family members who stand in line with 5-gallon plastic buckets. When full, each bucket weighs forty pounds, a heavy burden for a child who totes one.
April 22 was a huge day for Haitian water projects. A workshop was held in order to review the progress of the Clean Water Campaign and look at the work ahead of us. Dozens of representatives from all major towns and local NGO's were in attendance, including members from our International Action Washington D.C. staff, Lindsay Mattison and Youngmin Chang. Other groups included Rotary International and Pure Water for the World, and several radio stations such as Radio Caraïbes and the television station Télé 11.
This month we are busy preparing a big meeting on April 22nd with community leaders to discuss and analyze the clean water effort. Several prominent organizations will be there, including an international ambassador from Rotary International. Two members of our Washington office staff are attending, if the political situation in Haiti stabilizes.
This month a forum at the Montana Hotel took place sponsored by the MTPTC, the national public works ministry. All the actors in the public sector along with several NGOs attended. The meeting focused on how to reform the public water system and provide clean water based on a fair price policy and shared loyalty to the public. The meeting showcased a partnership between the Haitian state and NGOs.
One of our most recent chlorinator installations occurred in Baillergeau, a city area with an interesting story. The area came to be called Baillergeau for a white American named Jo who lived in the area. The gate to his home was the only access to water for the community, so it became known as "Gate Jo", or in French "Barriere Jo", and eventually into the Creole "Baillergeau".
Dalebrun and his team installed 2 chlorinators in two water towers of 1,200 gallons in the neighborhood of Bel Air. Bel Air, a slum area with a population of about 13,000 people, is located in Port-au-Prince and has much gang violence.
Our Haitian coordinator, Dalebrun Esther was invited to speak about our Clean Water Campaign to a delegation including some members of U.S. Congress in the El Rancho hotel, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where he talked about our current water project and the chlorinator technology.
The total number of installed chlorinators has reached 37. International Action has ensured clean water for over 251,000 people (not including the 400 hospital patients served each day). The IA water team in Haiti has targeted more than 25 schools in the Cité Soleil area, 9 community reservoirs in Kenscoff, two reservoirs in Cité Canada, and 4 water tanks in Bel Air for the next installation phase.
The IAWater team, with a substitute technician standing in for Bastin while he is recuperating, has completed evaluations of water reservoir sites in Jalousie, L'hôpital Fermanthe, Mont Jolie, a school in Cité Soleil, and an orphanage in Kenscoff. The team also evaluated Hôpital St. Catherine's, which is currently staffed by Medicins Sans Frontiers, to assess its feasibility as an installation site. The team will install a chlorinator on each of its two water tanks.
International Action technician Joanes Bastin was lighting his oven when the propane gas tank it was attached to exploded. He was burned quite badly over his face, head arms, and upper body. He has a hard and painful recovery ahead of him as he has lost quite a bit of skin. His wife was also burned but not as badly. Joanes saved her by taking the brunt of the explosion.
Even though the security situation in Haiti has deteriorated over the past months, the IAWater team has moved forward with installations. In December, the team installed a chlorinator in Hopital Communaute Haitienne, two in Hopital Fermanthe (one in the water reservoir used for the surgical unit and one in the water reservoir used for drinking water), and five chlorinators in the Hopital Croix Vert Orphanage in Kenscoff.
Installations on ten chlorinators in the Bertin area have been completed.
Update - February 2007: Bertin did not receive water until last week. Since Bertin began receiving water, they have called each of the members of the IAWater team to say how extremely happy they are to have clean water. They even called Joanes in the hospital to tell him this. Knop wrote, "The communities where we are installing chlorinators are places that most NGOs don't dare to venture into because of the insecurity. So when they see us coming to their communities, even though there are big security problems, they know we are committed to doing our job."
Chlorinators have been installed in 10 300-gallon tanks in the Bertin neighborhood of Carrefour. The International Action Clean Water Campaign team completed all 10 installations the week of August 11.
IA CWC team finished the last of three chlorinator installations in the Tokyo neighborhood in the poor Delmas section of Port-au-Prince on August 25. These three systems will provide clean drinking water to the 20,000 residents of the Tokyo neighborhood of Cité Soleil. Each installation cost $175 (more than usual), because the water-holding tanks are difficult to reach.
On Tuesday, August 28, International Action's Clean Water Campaign team, led by Laurie Knop and Dalebrun Esther, met with a community group in Cité L'Eternal to organize support for the installation and maintenance of 10 chlorinators. Some 100,000 capital-city residents will be served by the chlorinators in the Cité L'Eternal neighborhood of Carrefour, Port-au-Prince.
Two consultants to the U.S. Agency for International Development presented an evaluation of the Norweco LF-500 chlorinator for use in Haitian villages. Daniele Lantagne of the Center for Disease Control and Dr. Rochelle Rainey of U.S. AID found the benefits of the chlorinator to be a simple chlorine system, low-cost, with only one point of intervention for each community to provide "appropriately dosed chlorinated water."
An escalation of violence between rival gangs in Martissant and Grand Ravine has led the IAWater team to reevaluate where they are installing chlorinators. More than forty people were killed and twenty houses burned in ongoing gang fighting. The team has decided to install four chlorinators in Trousable until the security situation in other areas improves. It has also identified several sites for installations: two in the hills above Pétion-ville, one in Delmas 33, one in Cite L'eternal and several in Cité Soleil.
The director of the Jalousie local health clinic reported a noticeable drop in chronic diarrhea cases in the two months after an IA Clean Water Campaign installed a LF 1500 Chlorinator in May 2006, and proposed a joint study to document the impact of the new chlorinator.
In the last week of July, the IA Clean Water Campaign Team installed LF-500 chlorinators on four water tanks in the Trou Sable neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. The tanks serve some 25,000 people, mostly children.
The IA Clean Water Campaign team has completed a site evaluation of the Bertin neighborhood of Carrefour, a large town just west of the capital Port-au-Prince. During the first week of August, the team will install LF-500 chlorinators on all ten tanks serving this area.
Laurie Knop, director of International Action's on-the-ground partner agency, QIFD, met with Haitian government agencies SNEP and CAMEP to gather data and synchronize efforts to install chlorinators. Knop signed a contract with M. Gerald Jean Baptiste, who is coordinating the reorganization of the Ministry of Environment, outlining International Action's goals and plans to support the technical training and supervision of government circuit riders.