Washington, DC-MD-VA-WV – 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.
However, Haiti’s public water network suffered extensive damage during the quake, and many Haitians still remain without a reliable clean water supply. After the quake, Dlo Pwop rented local water tankers, filled them from wells and chlorinated their contents, and distributed 90 truckloads-each carrying 3,100 gallons-of safe, potable water to the poorest parts of Port-au-Prince, including its largest slum, Cité Soleil. Community-based staff also conducted a quick assessment and identified undamaged water storage reservoirs and tanks throughout the city. Dlo Pwop is now leasing 24 private reservoirs, which on average can hold at least 3,000 gallons each. The group has negotiated with owners to fill the reservoirs and to distribute chlorinated water to local residents on a daily basis. This strategy will reach tens of thousands who would otherwise have no source of clean water to use.
Leading disaster response and humanitarian aid organizations including the Red Cross, Mercy Corps, and UNICEF have recognized water as the top priority in saving lives and preventing diseases following the earthquake. In the absence of potable water, there is a danger that earthquake survivors will resort to drinking water sources contaminated by human waste, garbage, or industrial byproducts.
While it will take time to repair Port-au-Prince’s damaged water systems, Dlo Pwop and International Action is securing an initial purchase of 34 larger tanks each with a 2,000-gallon storage capacity to replace those lost. Dlo Pwop/International Action is also developing a plan for rebuilding and repairing tanks and chlorinators destroyed or rendered unusable by the quake, in addition to adding water storage in neighborhoods currently without water tanks.
Dlo Pwop and International Action’s work is supported and warmly welcomed by CAMEP-the Port-au-Prince water department-and increased logistical support from the US military, humanitarian organizations, and private donors could greatly augment Dlo Pwop/International Action’s ability to provide clean water and save lives in Haiti today. Those interested in assisting these efforts can reach International Action at info ( @ ) HaitiWater dot org or (202)488-0735 dot Staff include Lindsay Mattison, Youngmin Chang, and Jeffery Sejour (Jeff speaks Creole) dot In Haiti, call Dalebrun Esther at (509) 554-5549 and (509) 3712-6918 dot Chlorinators are made by Norweco in Norwalk, OH, and chlorine tablets are made by Arch Chemicals in Norwalk, CT dot
Donations can be made through International Action’s website, www.HaitiWater.org.