Today, International Action met with DINEPA water department officials and UN WASH Cluster partners to strategize a coordinated response to the spreading cholera epidemic. To combat this fatal waterborne disease, International Action plans to supply and install 50 chlorinators and 8 water tanks throughout Artibonite Department, the epicenter of the outbreak. Nine hundred chlorine tablets have also been released by the organization to the Haitian water agency and other NGOs addressing the public health crisis.
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.
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.
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.
From May 2006 up to before the earthquake hit, Dlo Pwop and Washington, D.C.-based partner International Action had jointly installed 140 chlorinators on water tanks in neighborhoods, schools, orphanages, and hospitals throughout Port-au-Prince, providing over 400,000 Haitians previously exposed to waterborne diseases like cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, and chronic diarrhea with a supply of clean, safe water.