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 will use all of our human and financial capacities to accomplish the following tasks:
- Massive distribution of granular chlorine
- Refill chlorine in chlorinators and complete check ups
- Offer cholera education to the public
International Action installed a 2000-gallon water storage tank at a maternal clinic in the Boston section of Cite 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!” GPS is as follows: 18°34′ N 72°19′ W
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.
The new water truck will allow us to expand our services to a part of the population that has virtually been forgotten. According to the International Organization of Migration (IOM), approximately 800,000 people remain in tarpaulin camps. Moreover, there is no doubt that the internally displaced people are the most vulnerable to the cholera epidemic and other waterborne illnesses. According to a new study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco and Harvard Medical School, the epidemic now has the potential to spread the disease to nearly 800,000 people— twice the earlier estimate. Our strategic plan to protect more lives entails installing our 2000-gallon water tanks in numerous camps throughout Port-au-Prince. Furthermore, using our 2,000-gallon water tanks as distribution points, our new water truck will deliver clean water to camp residents, protecting them from cholera and other waterborne illnesses.
As you already know, we’ve recently delivered 150-gallon water tanks to 73 schools in Cité Soleil, Haiti’s most densely populated and impoverished commune. The new water truck will allow us to deliver clean water to some of the schools that lack the infrastructure to catch the municipal water supplied by the National Directorate for Water Supply and Sanitation (DINEPA), the government entity currently operating in Haiti to manage water related issues.
As a member of the Clinton Global Initiative’s Haiti Action Network, we’ve made a commitment to provide clean, safe water for all 2.5 million Haitians in Port-au-Prince through the installation of our water tanks and chlorinators. There is no better way to start than giving the gift of clean water to the displaced people who need it most.
Haiti’s future rests in the hands of her most valuable resource—Children. Yet, the children of Haiti continue to bear the brunt of poverty and misery. One year after the earthquake, many children are roaming the streets of Port-au-Prince without proper homes, schools, and clean water.
Having grown up in Haiti with worms and exposed to waterborne diseases, 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 and could be the last. As such, ensuring that the water source 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.
In Haiti, one child out of every eight dies before the age of five of preventable diseases (such as diarrhea, typhoid, malaria) - the highest mortality rate among children in the Western Hemisphere. According to their respective reports, the World and Pan American Health Organizations ranked diarrhea as the second highest cause of death among children under the age of 5, accounting for 20% of deaths. The cholera outbreak, which has already killed more than 4,000 people, multiplied these figures and continues to put the lives of Haiti’s children at extreme risk.
To protect the lives of Haiti’s children, International Action is installing water tanks in schools throughout metropolitan Port-au-Prince and surrounding vicinity. We are currently providing clean water to 73 schools in the Cité Soleil area. Last month, we distributed 13 more 150-gallon water tanks to schools in Cité Soleil. Among the recipients –Ecole Mixte Frère en Jesus, Ecole Mixte des Vaillants, Ecole Mixte Evangelique de Secours, Collège Mixe Le Samaritain en Action. In total, we have 73 water tanks in schools in Haiti’s most impoverished and densely populated commune in Port-au-Prince. Our water tanks are providing clean water to 13,000 students in Cité Soleil.
Most schools in Haiti have no access to running water. Hence, lack of hygiene and sanitation has become a major problem for Haitian students. Many students fall sick regularly and are unable to attend classes. Consequently, they do not perform well at school. Our Campaign for Clean Water in schools is giving students the opportunity to get an education without fear of waterborne illnesses.
President John F. Kennedy once said that children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future. In Haiti’s case, there is no doubt that her young people will lead her rebirth. Nearly half of the Haitian population is under 18 years old. The median age of the total population is 20.2. International Action is inviting you to join the Campaign for Clean Water for Haiti’s students and to be become equal partners in the belief that they are the best hope for the future. Consider making a donation to the children of Haiti today!
Wesley & the International Action Team
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI – One year after the earthquake, Haitians are growing impatient with non-governmental organizations, humanitarian aid workers, and its own public officials. Disorganization, bureaucracy, and confusion among humanitarian organizations have left the majority Haitians frustrated and discontent with the progress (or lack thereof) since January 12, 2010. The once welcomed humanitarian organizations and workers are now the subject of resentment and disdain.
Amidst the vast sea of humanitarian organizations lies International Action, a small Washington based non-profit with a staff of 4 in D.C and 10 in Haiti. Since 2006, International Action has been working in the most impoverished communities in Haiti to provide clean water. The organization functions on the key operating principle that Haiti needs a hand up, not a hand out. Out of the thousands of foreign aid organizations in Haiti, few have Haitian input. International Action is among the few humanitarian entities with a staff that is entirely Haitian. A rare occurrence in a country where heavy criticism has been directed towards humanitarian organizations spending aid money on housing, security, and food for non-governmental organization (NGO) staff, while Haitians languish in the camps.
International Action's Haitian staff has continuously shown a sense of accomplishment and pride in their ability to do something significant to improve the lot of their communities and country. Hence, the organization has developed a strong reputation for adopting innovative approaches and providing services to support sustainability and effective use of resources. Through its life saving chlorinators and water tanks, it is currently protecting the water supply and providing clean water for more than 500,000 Haitians. The organization's clean water campaign entails strong community participation while providing sustainable benefits to the people of Haiti.
In order to make any progress, there is no doubt that NGOs need to do a better job of listening to and working with the Haitian people. International Action understands and recognizes this too well. Its Haitian staff conducts monthly meetings with the water board members of various communities in which it has installed its chlorinators and tanks. The water committees have helped in organizing communities to influence water programs and initiatives that affect them. Through its Haitian staff and local water board members, International Action is in greater and closer proximity to its target beneficiaries, creating greater trust with the people. Furthermore, community involvement has helped the organization create programs that are more responsive to the needs of the people.
The ongoing cholera crisis in Haiti highlights the importance of clean water for drinking and preparing disease-free food. Without clean water, an adequate standard of living is out of reach. As is typical for many developing nations, deprivation in access to clean water is a silent crisis experienced by the impoverished. In Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, lack of access to clean water is a crisis that is consigning large segments of the population to lives of poverty, vulnerability, and insecurity.
International Action is demonstrating that it requires a true partnership with the people of Haiti to help. Humanitarian aid organizations should follow its blueprint by hiring more locals to rebuild their countries. The model of Haitians helping Haitians empowers and inspires dignity, courage, and leadership in a country that has suffered so much for many years. Perhaps, it is time that we let Haitians take the lead in rebuilding their country.
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