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Emergency Programs Launched in Haiti, Ensuring Access to Drinking Water for 35,000 People

ACF delivers water equipment, launches clean water programs in Port-au-Prince
ACF-Haiti, courtesy L. Grosjean

An A340 cargo plane carrying 20 metric tons of emergency supplies and technical experts for Action Against Hunger | ACF International landed in Port-au-Prince Saturday morning, reinforcing ACF’s response to the Haitian population’s urgent need for clean water and sanitation. Another plane is scheduled to depart Monday evening with an additional 87 metric tons of emergency relief supplies.

The cargo plane, supplied by a partnership with Airbus, landed shortly after 6:30 AM (local time) on Saturday morning with 20 metric tons of water and sanitation equipment—enough to complete the two water treatment stations that were sent to Port-au-Prince from ACF’s base of operations in Gonaives. Emergency water distributions were completed and launched before midnight that day.

ACF’s technical experts identified priority zones for water distributions: the Canape Vert district, where some 9,000 people have gathered, and the Champ de Mars district where between 20,000 and 25,000 displaced have congregated. ACF launched emergency distributions of water by setting up two water points employing three large reservoirs, or “bladders,” to distribute a minimum of 5 liters of water to an initial 9,000 individuals—the bladders themselves filled regularly by tanker trucks bringing clean water from outside Port-au-Prince. Action Against Hunger’s teams are finalizing preparations for an additional four or five water points in the Champ de Mars area—efforts that will ensure access to drinking water for more that 35,000 people in three key areas of Port-au-Prince.

These emergency water points will ensure immediate access to drinking water for the displaced, but Action Against Hunger will also turn its attention to restoring water distribution networks by repairing pipes and infrastructure for longer term sustainability.

As proper sanitation is of equal concern in an emergency setting such as Haiti, Action Against Hunger’s teams are awaiting authorization from the National Directorate of Water Port-au-Prince to dig trenches around the camps to dispose of the accumulating waste and human feces, which can quickly become real public health threats.

To further reinforce its on-the-ground response, ACF has scheduled an additional cargo plane that will leave Monday with 87 metric tons of supplies and equipment, including: four additional water treatment stations; 45 tons of emergency food rations (ready-to-eat, high-calorie, vitamin rich BP5 bars), sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of 18,000 children under five years of age for two weeks; two vehicles donated by Citroen; 12,000 jerrycans for distributing water; and face masks, gloves, and protective gear to ensure the safety of ACF’s teams as they work in dangerous, unsanitary conditions.

The emergency phase of Action Against Hunger’s interventions in Haiti are designed to cover humanitarian needs for at least the next several months, with complementary interventions planned to deliver crucial services in nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, and longer-term food security.

Action Against Hunger has implemented programs in Haiti since 1985, carrying out emergency measures in the areas of health and nutrition. Since 2001, ACF has focused primarily on food security and water, sanitation, and hygiene programs in both emergency and development contexts in Port de Paix, Gonaives, Anse Rouge and Jeremiah.

Read more about Action Against Hunger's response to the earthquake in Haiti.

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