Starting in May of 2006, a U.S. - non-governmental group International Action working with a Haitian group Dlo Pwòp (Clean Water) has installed 100 tablet chlorinators in 23 of the poorest neighborhoods for Port-au-Prince.
These neighborhoods include Tokyo, Trou-sable, Simmond Pelé, Cité Soleil, Carrefour and Delmas - some of the poorest and most dangerous parts of the capital. These chlorinators protect the water supply for some 400,000 residents, including 250,000 children. For some, it is the first help they have had in many years.
The join Haitian-American team just installed a larger chlorinator in the coastal town of Arcahaie - hard hit by the three recent hurricanes. With the new water system, Arcahaie's 100,000 residents have access to clean, safe water for the first time. A local leader of the Women's Organization - Rosemilla St.Vil - asked for the chlorinator weeks ago, saying:
"People drink the water where all the animals bathe and people wash clothes. Children get sick and many die. It's a serious problem. We need help." The Clean Water team responded to her plea.
In Jalousie - in the hills above Port-au-Prince - International Action installed a chlorinator which now protects 50,000 people. The nurse in Jalousie reported a major drop in chronic diarrhea cases which she must treat. A municipal laboratory found that germs of typhoid and cholera are no longer present in Jalousie's water. People from nearby neighborhoods are crossing into Jalousie to take home safe water.
International Action/ Dlo Pwòp staff ride the circuit of installed chlorinators once a month to check on maintenance and answer questions by local water boards. They encourage local ownership of each water system and teach the skills needed to sustain the chlorine system for future years. The 23 neighborhood committees are becoming active in supporting changes in water and other Haitian policies - a sign of growing local democracy.
International Action is a non-profit incorporated in Washington, DC with a staff of three in the U.S. and five in Haiti and several hundred members. Our Campaign in Haiti will continue for five years and hopes to reach all 1.5 million residents in Port-au-Prince.
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