Haiti Water Crisis Overview
LAST UPDATED: Feb 24, 2017
Haiti faces a massive challenge in regards to providing its people with clean water and basic sanitation. The 2010 earthquake took a dire toll upon the infrastructure and health system of an already disadvantaged country. Due in part to the near total lack of water treatment facilities and sewer systems in Haiti, it has been ranked as having the weakest rating for water supply and sanitation in the whole of the western hemisphere.
In urban areas of the country, 1 in 5 citizens do not have access to water sources that are protected from dangerous levels of contamination. Things are even worse in the countryside, with more than 50% of the populace lacking access to protected sources of water. While Haitians in the countryside often have access to pipe systems intended to supply people with water, very often these systems are non-functional due to poor maintenance. As for river water, it has a history of being an unreliable source of drinking water. In the aftermath of the 2010 quake, more than 6,000 died as a result of a cholera outbreak, the source of which was identified as the Artibonite River.
Things may be even more dire in regards to basic sanitation. Within Haiti, only 26% of the population is reported as having access to improved sanitation (defined as a facility that is capable of preventing human contact with human excreta). To put this in starker terms: only 24% of Haitians have access to toilet facilities, while 10% of urban residents have little choice but to defecate in public, without the use of even the most basic of hygienic supplies or facilities. In rural areas of the nation, that number spikes up to 50% of the population! The Haitian government has been working hard on public awareness campaigns, encouraging citizens to dig private latrines, while also making investments in establishing sanitation facilities in public buildings.
While building facilities that provide clean water and proper sanitation are of course critical, changing cultural attitudes on the ground is just as vital. The World Bank has been involved in providing education to Haitian citizens about just how important it is to drink only clean sources of water, and to wash hands and food properly. While these are positive steps in promoting public health and heading off future cholera epidemics, there is simply much more that needs to be done.
Haiti is in great need, and has had difficulty funding its water programs independently. In 2015, the World Bank reported that more than 60% of the National Direction for Water and Sanitation’s operating costs were funded by international agencies. As the Haitian government is not currently equipped to provide for the health needs of its people, it is up to the international community to dramatically alleviate the situation.
Facts and Figures
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- Twenty percent of urban residents, and fifty percent of rural residents, do not have access to protected sources of drinking water.
- In 2010, a cholera outbreak, resulting from unprotected drinking water, killed over six thousand Haitians.
- Twenty-four percent of Haitians have access to toilets; ten percent of urban residents, and half of rural Haitians, are forced to defecate publicly.
- Seventy-five percent of Haitian health care facilities do not have basic access to a source of clean water.
How Are We Helping
Recently, we at Water For The Global Community, decided to partner with the Rapino Foundation and the Dr. Louis G. Lamothe Foundation in Haiti to help provide clean drinking water to almost 200 children and teachers in a newly constructed school in Nan Panyol. By providing an Axenika water filter, the school can now provide hundreds of gallons of clean water per hour. We are proud to be part of effort and hope that our partnership will continue to grow in the future so that we can help change more lives in a nation ravished my natural disasters, cholera and other diseases.
Clean water is the lifeblood of society, and societies without clean water cannot function successfully. Hurricanes and earthquakes have taken a toll on the people in Haiti in recent years. In order to help in the recovery process, Water For The Global Community is committed to supplying multiple water filtration systems throughout Haiti's most needed areas.