INTERNATIONAL ACTION INTERVENES IN HAITI’S CHOLERA OUTBREAK
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2010
Wesley Laîné and Jeremy Mak
Public Information: 202-488-0735
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A deadly cholera outbreak has erupted across Haiti’s Artibonite Department, claiming at least 150 lives and sickening more than 1,500 others. The first registered cholera epidemic in Haiti in decades is the worst public health catastrophe since the January 12 earthquake.
Waterborne in nature, cholera is spreading primarily from ingesting water contaminated with the Vibrio cholerae bacterium, usually carried in human feces. Symptoms include severe dehydration, diarrhea, intense abdominal pains, and fever.
Limited pre-existing water and sanitation infrastructure, poor hygiene conditions, and overcrowding due to an influx of tens of thousands of Haitians displaced after the January quake has led to the cholera crisis, which now threatens to spread to other parts of the country. (Cholera cases have also been documented in La Gonâve, Arcahaie, and the Croix-des-Bouquet area of Port-au-Prince, albeit in lower numbers).
In response to the outbreak, International Action has dispatched its team to Saint-Marc, a coastal town badly ravaged by a wave of cholera cases. The nonprofit has been focusing on eliminating waterborne diseases in Haiti since 2006. Approached by the Direction Nationale de l'Eau Potable et Assainissement—DINEPA, the Haitian water agency, to intervene in this crisis—International Action is installing innovative chlorinators on two of Saint-Marc’s largest water reservoirs and public water stations.
These chlorinators will protect local Haitians previously exposed to waterborne illnesses like typhoid and chronic diarrhea. Pre-set levels of chlorine are slowly dissolved into the water, effectively eliminating all disease-causing bacteria, including those responsible for cholera. Chlorine residuals in the water continue killing germs up to 48 hours after it is dispensed to locals’ water buckets.
International Action’s lifesaving chlorination technology is safe and easy to maintain and requires no electricity. The chlorinators operate on the water's own gravity flow, so no additional equipment is necessary. Each chlorinator can easily disinfect water for more than 10,000 people and takes 1-2 hours to install on a pre-existing reservoir or water tank.
International Action is on high alert during this critical time. It is offering its chlorinators and chlorine tablets, readily available at its Port-au-Prince warehouse, to any entity that needs them at no cost. Currently, the organization is providing clean water to over 421,500 people at 46 public water stations, orphanages, hospitals, and schools throughout Haiti. It aims to reach 2.5 million Haitians with clean water by 2013.
International Action believes that clean water is a fundamental right. As such, it is committed to helping the impoverished gain access to this basic right. Please visit www.HaitiWater.Org or email Info@HaitiWater.Org for more information on International Action’s Campaign for Clean Water in Haiti.
Newsletter, October 12, 2010
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.
The lack of proper shelter and continued reliance on easily disrupted supplies and services reflect the enduring precariousness of life in the camps. To address this concern, International Action continues to rehabilitate quake-destroyed public water kiosks in neighborhoods throughout the capital. The provision of water and other vital services is the critical first step to encouraging survivors to return home from camps and to bringing normalcy back to their lives.
The Fanm Yo Kapab Women's Organization inspects our first shipment of 2,000-gallon tanks.
In many of our operational neighborhood sites, like Baillergeau, where we just installed 4 chlorinators on our partner GRET's newly constructed public water tanks, upwards of 70 percent of the pre-quake population have returned to their homes. At Baillergeau, 25,000 Haitians—a large portion of them recent returnees—are now receiving safe, clean water.
"I've stressed this fact repeatedly at UN meetings," states our Haiti Director Dalebrun Esther. "There is a direct correlation with the restoration of clean water in affected neighborhoods and the increase in the number of people returning home from displaced persons camps."
Our Haitian staff also installed new chlorinators in the First Section of Cité Gérard (5,000 people) and in Cité Soleil/ Bois Neuf (6,500). We are now in discussions with CAMEP, the local water agency, to install one of our 2,000-gallon tanks in Cité Soleil in the near future—if implemented well, we will install several more in the area, well known as home to some of Port-au-Prince's poorest and most-underserved residents.
CAMEP has also restored piped water delivery to Delmas 30, where our chlorinator, retrofitted with new valves and a fresh load of chlorine tablets, is disinfecting water for 15,000 Haitians.
International Action's delegation to last month's Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York.
Trou-Sable, Delmas 31, and Simmond-Pelé are the next public water station sites designated by our staff for repair and rehabilitation.
With your help, we are now reaching 421,500 Haitians with clean water at 46 locations throughout the country.
And we're not stopping.
We're aggressively seeking collaborative partnerships with Clinton Global Initiative Haiti Action Network members and meeting with groups such as the UN WASH Cluster, BRAC, Digicel, Action Contre la Faim, and USAID, among others. We are brainstorming with strategic partners like Deep Springs International to scale up and bring clean water to more Haitians in need. With the help of Christian Aid Ministries, our second shipment of 2,000-gallon tanks and pipe fittings just left for Haiti.
As always, we continue to offer chlorinators, initial chlorine tablets, and deworming pills at no cost to any organization in need of them. If you know of any neighborhood, school, orphanage, church, hospital, or group in need of any of these, please let us know. Help us spread the word.
We're saving lives, eliminating waterborne diseases, and greatly improving the health and wellness of whole communities.
Please join us in this Campaign for Clean Water today, and help us make a miracle in Haiti.
Lindsay, Wesley, Jeffery, Jeremy, and the rest of the International Action Team
firstname.lastname@example.org T: (202) 488-0735 F: (202) 488-0736
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.
Typhoid has recently broken out in many areas of Port-au-Prince, and the UN Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster Coordinator has warned of the likelihood of the biggest diarrhea outbreak the world has seen in the past 20 years.
This will not happen on our watch. In the past 2 weeks, we have installed 2 chlorinators in Thiotte, Sudest Department, providing clean water for 20 public water stations serving up to 19,000 people. We also put in 2 more chlorinators for LOCC Mission, an orphanage in the Croix des Bouquets area of Port-au-Prince.
At the last UN "Beyond Water Trucking" meeting, our Haiti Director Dalebrun Esther begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting spoke, and consensus passed that for long-term sustainability, clean water provision must shift from focusing on camps to a neighborhood strategy and that the public water system must be rebuilt.
With your support, we have been the only group focused on disinfecting water at public water stations and providing clean water to neighborhoods from the very beginning, both before and after the quake.
Furthermore, French NGO GRET and the Haitian water agency DINEPA have recommended International Action's chlorinators as the model technology for providing clean water to all of Haiti. We are pursuing partnerships with UNICEF, UNDP, and DINEPA and continue to offer chlorinators and chlorine tablets free of charge to the UN WASH and UN Education Cluster groups, Clinton Global Initiative partners, and any organization in need of them.
Moreover, we've been conducting household chlorine residual testing to ensure that water retrieved from our chlorinators is not contaminated between the points of distribution and consumption. All drinking water containers tested so far have registered with ample levels of chlorine residual. Also, with the help of Water Missions International, we have begun comprehensive microbial testing of treated water from surviving water tanks.
What we're doing works—All samples submitted so far for microbial testing (our Duvivier and Mont Jolly #1 and #2 sites) have tested free of bacteria, confirming that our water is high-quality and safe for drinking.
In addition to installing new chlorinators, we're continuing to distribute albendazole tablets and relief supplies. We will distribute another 25,000 deworming pills through Project Concern International's four clinics in Croix Deprez, Nazon, Fort National, and Asile Comunnale beginning this week. We've also passed out deworming tablets, UNICEF hygiene kits and water containers, and mosquito nets to communities in the Léogâne area.
Dalebrun just met with leaders and teachers from 40 schools in Cité Soleil to assess where we can install more water tanks and chlorinators. We're continuing to look for new sites to install chlorinators. If you know of any neighborhood, school, orphanage, church, hospital, or organization in need of chlorinators, chlorine tablets, storage tanks, or deworming pills, please let us know. Help us spread the word.
The need is profound. The time to act is now. Join us in this campaign, and help us quench Haiti's thirst.
Jeremy Mak Program Coordinator, International Action
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.
As part of our clean water pilot project with the United Nations Development Programme, we have installed chlorinators at the first two of 51 sites in Jacmel, Southern Haiti, now serving approximately 8,000 Haitians.
This is the encouraging first step towards implementing a UN-backed clean water program for the whole country.
We also installed a chlorinator and tank at the Power of Education Foundation's School in Fontamara, Port-au-Prince, reaching 1,200 more Haitians with clean water. Children like first grader Edline Sainvil, 6, are now protected against chronic diarrhea and other waterborne diseases.
Last week, we put in a chlorinator and water tank at Grassroots United's medical distribution warehouse as well as supplied chlorine for Engineers Without Borders-USA's clean water project in Les Anglais, which delivers safe water for 12,000 locals.
Now, we are in discussions with Digicel, BRAC, and Plan Haiti about the possibility of installing chlorinators in their program sites and schools. We will also install chlorinators at six of French NGO GRET's locations.
With the help of Christian Aid Ministries, our first shipment of 34 2,000 gallon water tanks has just cleared customs. These tanks will be used in the capital to replace ones destroyed by the quake. Our second batch of 34 tanks will be ready for shipment at the end of this month.
We will rebuild Port-au-Prince's public water system one water tank and chlorinator at a time. We've identified six quake-damaged water stations within the city in need of tanks and are now seeking assistance to first remove the rubble at these locations, so we can pour concrete bases and install our tanks.
We also purchased an additional 500,000 albendazole doses for our ongoing deworming campaign.
We continue to offer chlorinators, initial chlorine tablets, deworming pills, and water tanks at no cost to any organization in need of them. If you know of any neighborhood, school, orphanage, church, hospital, or group in need of any of these, please let us know. Help us spread the word.
We're saving lives and drastically improving the health of whole communities.
I, along with the hundreds of thousands who have drunk clean water from our chlorinators—We are living proof. Proof that there is a simple answer to untold suffering, sickness, and death from drinking dirty water in Haiti.
No longer do people have to die or fall ill needlessly.
Right now, we are reaching more than 370,000 people in 39 locations with safe, potable water. However, many more Haitians remain without a reliable, clean water supply.
The need is profound. The time to act is now. With your help, waterborne diseases will be a thing of the past.
Please join us in this campaign today, and help us quench Haiti's thirst.
Jeremy Mak Program Coordinator
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