Haiti Update: Clean Water Remains Top Priority

Here’s the latest update from CRS’ program manager for Haiti, Greg Elder. He’s working with emergency responders and keeping us informed on conditions following massive storm damage in August and September.

Gonaives mud

A young boy looks down the street in front of his family home, which was flooded when Hurricane Ike hit Gonaives, Haiti. Photo by David Snyder for CRS.

The St. Joseph Sisters’ school, which was completely flooded with mud and debris, is now almost fully operational. We bought them a small generator so they could have a refrigerator and a way to prepare rice. Rehabilitating the school cafeteria was essential to the success of the school. City power is still pretty spotty. It usually only runs at night.

We also have plans to rehabilitate the water distribution system in Labrande, a poor sector on the outskirts of Gonaives. We were contacted by the local parish priest about their situation. Labrande has roughly 30,000 inhabitants. The ground is arid and the climate is not suitable for agriculture. There are no irrigation canals. They are drinking water out of the river right now, which is unsafe.

The water systems in much of Haiti are primitive to begin with, i.e.— a pump in the ground with a water canal system made of bricks and cement. It can easily be damaged. Most of it is above ground so it is not easily protected from the elements.

The priest came to us with the formal proposal, our water engineer assessed their system and concluded that it needed to be rehabilitated. We are going to start with that water system and if we receive other funds we’ll continue to rehabilitate other systems.

– Greg Elder

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One Response to “Haiti Update: Clean Water Remains Top Priority”

  1. Bonnie Elam Says:

    Thank you for your work in Haiti.
    We are adding >1,000 resources to our web site. Can you please send the names of the safe water orgaizations that have helped and are effective. I have a list I can send you, if you like.
    I am working with Dr Diane Jean Francois on a Haiti Health Coalition and am a friend of Emily Smack at Haitian Ministries.
    Thank you for observations and suggestions.
    If we can do anything for you, please let me know, Bonnie Elam

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