Haiti: Access to Water and Sanitation Urgently Needed

ACF teams have mobilized in response to risk of outbreaks of disease
Reuters/Eduardo Munoz, courtesy www.alertnet.org

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI—Less than 48 hours after a massive quake devastated parts of western Haiti, Action Against Hunger’s teams already on the ground have fully mobilized to meet humanitarian needs. External emergency personnel from Action Against Hunger | ACF International have also arrived to reinforce relief efforts already taking place, assess needs, and set up programs to assist disaster victims.

Action Against Hunger’s top priority is access to safe water and sanitation, and the organization is especially concerned about controlling epidemics, as large swaths of the population are living on the streets among the deceased. This massive population of homeless people has no access to adequate sanitation, including latrines, which greatly increases their risk of disease.

While conditions make it extremely difficult to carry out accurate assessments—with more than 80% destruction in certain parts of Port-au-Prince—ACF’s initial response will ensure access to clean water and sanitation, nutritional support for children (especially infants under six months of age), distributions of food rations, public health and hygiene promotion, and mental health services for at least the next several months. Emergency stocks of water and sanitation supplies have arrived from ACF’s programs in the nearby city of Gonaïves. These water treatment stations, vehicles, and communications equipment will enable the organization to begin mitigating the enormous water and sanitation challenges facing the Haitian population.

In response to the urgent need for additional emergency water and sanitation supplies, Action Against Hunger has partnered with Airbus to send an A340 cargo plane with 150 metric tons of material to Haiti, including: flexible water tanks, latrines, emergency units of water treatment, jerry cans, drinking water kits, computers and communications equipment, and an additional team of four technical experts.

Action Against Hunger expresses its appreciation to Airbus for their support in sending cargo and to Aquassistance for their provision of units of water treatment in response to the crisis in Haiti.

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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