Cholera Outbreak: A HWP Response

img_7227As an outbreak of cholera hits the Artibonite Valley, Haiti Water Project is pulling together its resources to best respond to the needs of those in the affected and surrounding areas. Cholera is most often spread through contaminated water, so we are focusing on introducing biosand filters into homes and wells into communities. Wells, of course, provide a direct access point to clean groundwater. Biosand filters (as pictured to the left) use centuries old technology to remove between 95-99% of all bacteria, protozoa, and turbidity through sand, gravel, and a bacterial layer. This is a life-saving tool for families who regularly retrieve their family’s water from rivers and untreated cisterns.

Piard AlcĂ©gaire, a filter technician who works with HWP, explained, “Filters give people clean water in their homes. In Haiti, there are many people who cannot afford to buy drinking water; they must go to rivers and streams. This is hope for them.”

Conditions in Haiti for an epidemic of cholera were perfect even before the January 2010 earthquake: around half of the population is without access to clean water and even more are without proper sanitation. Once disease is introduced into these conditions, it can quickly spread. When news of hundreds of people with watery diarrhea hit, the government and aid community immediately moved to action to provide supplies and educate communities on proper sanitation techniques that will stop the spread of cholera and how to make rehydration salts for those who fall ill. This quick action sharply curbed the rise of deaths in the Artibonite Valley and has slowed its spread to the rest of the country.

Haiti Water Project is not a disaster response organization, but we are providing long-term sustainable resources to families so that crises such as this are not repeated. Please join us. We depend on your donations and support to continue the work of giving others what we can so easily take for granted: clean drinking water.

JOIN THE RESPONSE

  • Donate. Give the gift of clean water so that outbreaks of diseases like cholera are a thing of the past. Filters cost $75, wells $5,000, and cisterns $2,000 (all USD).
  • Act. Are you an accountant? Engineer? Contact us at hwp@caribnaz.org to learn how your skills can help bring water to others.
  • Pray. The work can seem overwhelming, but we know that God loves the people of Haiti and is working with us.
  • Share the word. The media is filled with stories of heartbreak from Haiti. Tell others of the beauty of this country, the hope of its people, its current denial of the basic human right of access to clean water, and the work Haiti Water Project is doing to change this. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Learn. Haiti has a long history of corruption within and harmful policies towards it that have led to its current social and economic situation. Inform yourself of Haiti’s history to better understand the present.

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