Haiti: Water Shortage

The following is the fourth of many field reports that will be sent from our Haiti field reporter Kirk Noonan.

Water is scarce in Port-au-Prince. So much so, that if relief groups advertised they had clean water to distribute they would, according to officials here, be overrun. So, one Convoy of Hope team worked behind the scenes on Saturday to provide clean water for the residents of Port-au-Prince by installing two modified bio-sand filters at an orphanage in the capital city.

"Since the earthquake struck the orphanage has had to ration water for the children," says Gary Higgins, director of international projects for Convoy of Hope. "The children were surviving on only a half a cup of water per day, which obviously is not nearly enough for the hot and humid conditions in Haiti."

On Saturday morning, Higgins built and installed two filters using two technologies Convoy of Hope has come to rely on in its efforts to provide clean drinking water in impoverished countries.

"Getting the natural material for a bio-sand filter in a disaster area is not possible so we merged the bio-sand filter with one of our Sawyer water filters," he says. "Now, these children will have access to clean drinking water every day."

The hybrid filters will each produce 1.2 liters of clean water each minute. Clean water will help stop the spread of diseases, which officials here will run rampant in the coming days as residents settle for unclean water.

According to a UN development report-for every dollar spent on providing clean drinking water in places like Haiti there is an economic return of $8 worth of productivity from those who have access to the water.

"In other words," adds Higgins, "it improves people's lives and provides opportunity for them."

Chris Nungester, director of the orphanage, is just happy her children will have access to clean, drinking water.

"This is going to be life changing for our orphanage," she says.