Haiti: first ever National Sustainable Sanitation Conference
Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) and UNICEF are organising Haiti’s first ever National Sustainable Sanitation Conference. It will be held in Port-au-Prince on 12-13 June 2012.
The conference aims to share information about innovative waste treatment technologies such as composting toilets and bio-systems, among NGOs and the Haitian government.
- Overview of National Sanitation Strategy presented by DINEPA’s Sanitation Office (DA)
- Presentations of lessons learned from previous projects and ongoing sustainable sanitation projects in Haiti
- Ateliers focused on different components of sustainable sanitation
- Stakeholder feedback
- Open forum to discuss National Standards for Composting Toilets and Biogas
- Production of a public document summarizing the findings of the conference
SOIL, US-registered non profit, has been promoting ecological sanitation solutions in Haiti since 2006.
For the full announcement and more information go to: www.oursoil.org/national-sustainable-sanitation-conference
Haiti: lack of proper sanitation is real cause of cholera outbreak, Clinton says
Haiti should focus on stemming the cholera outbreak that has killed more than 7,000 people since 2010, rather than on levying blame against the source of the disease, UN special envoy to Haiti, Bill Clinton, said. While studies have suggested that the cholera came from a Nepalese soldier serving as a peacekeeper, Clinton pointed out that the country’s lack of proper sanitation was the real cause of the outbreak. 
In November 2011, the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) filed a demand for hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from Haitian cholera victims. 
Money to empty refugee camp toilets has run out
Clinton’s own foundation, together with UNICEF and USAID, supplied some 11,000 mobile toilets for the refugee camps that emerged after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The NGOs that distributed the toilets and paid for them to be emptied are now pulling out one by one, leaving overflowing toilets behind, according to an IPS report. 
Donor funds are being used to set up excreta treatment centres, one is now in operation in Morne-à-Cabri while a second centre is planned for Titanye, but these are not servicing the remaining refugee camps, home to nearly half a million people.
- Haiti: study suggests UN force source of cholera strain that killed 5,500 people, E-Source, 15 Jul 2011
- Humanitarian crises and sustainable sanitation: lessons from Eastern Chad, Sanitation Updates, 16 Mar 2012
Related web sites:
- Practical Action – Water & Sanitation Resources for Recovery and Reconstruction
- Haiti Reconstruction Fund
- WHO – Cholera
-  AP, Former President Clinton urges officials to stem Haiti cholera outbreak, Washington Post, 07 Mar 2012
-  Haiti: cholera victims demand UN compensation, Sanitation Updates, 09 Nov 2011
-  Phares Jerome and Valery Daudier, Money for cleaning toilets in Haiti down the drain? – Part 1, IPS, 07 Mar 2012
Haiti: cholera victims demand UN compensation
The United Nations has been hit with a demand for hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from Haitian cholera victims.
The Boston, USA-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) filed the demand on behalf of some 5,000 victims.
IJDH is demanding US$ 50,000 in compensation for each sick person and US$ 100,000 for each death. In addition, it wants a public apology and an adequate nationwide response – including medical care and clean water and sanitation infrastructure.
Study suggests UN force brought cholera to Haiti
Evidence «strongly suggests» that a United Nations peacekeeping mission brought a cholera strain to Haiti that has killed thousands of people, a study by a team of epidemiologists and physicians says.
The study is the strongest argument yet that newly-arrived Nepalese peacekeepers at a base near the town of Mirebalais brought with them the cholera, which spread through the waterways of the Artibonite region.
The disease has killed more than 5,500 people and sickened more than 363,000 others since it was discovered in October 2010, according to the Haitian government.
«Our findings strongly suggest that contamination of the Artibonite (river) and 1 of its tributaries downstream from a military camp triggered the epidemic,» said the report in the July 2011 issue of the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
In an email to Associate Press (AP), U.N. mission spokeswoman Sylvie Van Den Wildenberg didn’t comment on the findings of the journal article, referring only to a study released in May by a U.N.-appointed panel.
The article published in the CDC journal comes as health workers in Haiti wrestle with a spike in the number of cholera cases brought on by several weeks of rainfall. The aid group Oxfam said earlier this month that its workers were treating more than 300 new cases a day, more than three times what they saw when the disease peaked in the fall.
The CDC journal article comes as health workers in Haiti wrestle with a spike in the number of cholera cases brought on by several weeks of rainfall. Oxfam said earlier that its workers were treating more than 300 new cases a day, more than three times what they saw when the disease peaked in the fall of 2010.
The new study argues it is important for scientists to determine the origin of cholera outbreaks and how they spread in order to eliminate «accidentally imported disease.» Figuring out the source of a cholera epidemic would help health workers better treat and prevent cholera by minimizing the «distrust associated with the widespread suspicions of a cover-up of a deliberate importation of cholera.»
Read the full article
Piarroux, R. [et al.] (2011). Understanding the cholera epidemic, Haiti. Emerging infectious diseases ; vol. 17, no. 7 ; p. 1161-1167. DOI:10.3201/eid1707.110059
Source: Jonathan M. Katz, AP, 29 Jun 2011
Haiti: UN panel reports on source of cholera outbreak
The cholera outbreak that has so far killed 4,888 people in Haiti was caused by a strain “very similar but not identical” to current South Asian strains, a U.N. independent panel of experts said. The source of the outbreak was due to contamination of the Meye Tributary of the Artibonite River, used by tens of thousands of people for washing, bathing, and drinking.
Many people in Haiti blamed the epidemic on U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal, who had been accused of poor sanitation at their base near Mirebalais, the town where the epidemic first began. In November 2010, this lead to violent protests against the UN peacekeeping forces. Others believed that the outbreak was linked to voodoo. More than 50 voodoo followers have been killed since the outbreak of cholera following accusations that they spread the disease with occult power. However, U.N. panel declined to point the finger at any single group for the outbreak, saying it was the result of a «confluence of circumstances».
“The introduction of this cholera strain as a result of environmental contamination with faeces could not have been the source of such an outbreak without simultaneous water and sanitation and health-care system deficiencies,” the report concludes.
The UN panel of experts provides several recommendations to the U.N. and the Haitian government including:
- UN staff and other relief workers travelling from cholera-endemic areas should either receive a prophylactic dose of appropriate antibiotics before departure or be screened for cholera strains
- UN peacekeeping missions operating in areas with cholera outbreaks should ensure that staff be immunized with oral vaccines, receive prophylactic antibiotics, or both,
- the UN should install and supervise their own on-site sanitation systems that inactivate pathogens before disposal
- the Haitian Government and the UN should prioritise investing in piped, treated drinking water supplies and better sanitation throughout the country; and until this can be put in place, they should promote household water treatment, hand washing with soap, and the safe disposal of faecal waste.
Read the full report of the UN Independent Panel of Experts on the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti.
According to estimates from the Health and WASH Clusters, US$ 39.38 million is still neededto respond to essential needs of the cholera response in the areas of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and health. This unfunded requirement is part of the general US$ 175 million cholera appeal which is so far 48 per cent funded, according to the latest UN Humanitarian Bulletin for Haiti.
Source: UN News Centre, 04 May 2011 ; AP / New York Times, 04 May 2011 ; Evelyn Leopold, Huffington Post, 05 May 2011 ; Reliefweb, 07 May 2011 ; Rory Carroll, Guardian, 18 Nov 2010
Haiti: US$ 10 million World Bank grant to bolster efforts against cholera, WHO warns that 400,00 could be affected
In response to the cholera outbreak in Haiti, the World Bank is preparing a US$ 10 million Cholera Emergency Grant as part its US$ 479 million reconstruction support. As of 22 November 2010 the outbreak has caused 1,523 deaths and could kill up to 10,000 people and affect 40,000 if the outbreak is not contained, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The UN has appealed for US$ 164 million for additional treatment centres, scaled-up public information campaigns, supplies of medical equipment, rehydration salts, water purification tablets and bars of soap to respond to the outbreak.
The US$ 10 million grant will bolster the surveillance and monitoring capacity of the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) and the Haitian National Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation (DINEPA). The initiative is aligned with the Cholera Inter-Sector Response Strategic Plan for Haiti, under the leadership of MSPP and DINEPA.
The grant will also help NGOs provide clean water and basic health services to affected people, and safe sanitation and waste management in high risk areas. These activities will complement existing hygiene awareness and prevention efforts such as the creation of a “Public Health Brigade”.
Through a Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery grant of US$ 200,000, the World Bank is identifying national and international actors already involved in these tasks, preparing a standardized training plan and training a core group of 250 trainers. It will also finance an awareness and prevention campaign.
The Bank has also provided assistance to the Directorate of Civil Protection since the beginning of the cholera outbreak to coordinate the response of the Government and its partners. This assistance has supported the setup and manning of the National Emergency Operation Center and management of the national campaign «Konbit kont Kolera,» which raises awareness on cholera and its prevention.
Civil unrest since 15 November 2010 has slowed down several activities, particularly in the Northern city of Cap Haitian. Trainings on cholera treatment and initiatives to chlorinate water for 300 000 people had to be postponed.
For the latest updates on the Haiti cholera outbreak go to ReliefWeb.
Source: World Bank, 24 Nov 2010
Haiti: hygiene promotion is key to preventing nationwide cholera epidemic, says Save the Children as death toll passes 900
As the death toll from Haiti’s cholera epidemic reached 917 on 12 November 2010, Save the Children says the best way to reduce the disease’s spread is to arm people with information and supplies to improve hygienic practices.
Cholera has reached the capital Port-au-Prince, where 27 deaths have been recorded and over 1.3 million earthquake survivors living in tent camps are at risk. Throughout the country 14,600 cholera victims have been hospitalised.
The United Nations forecasts up to 200,000 Haitians could contract cholera as the outbreak extends across the country of nearly 10 million, and says $163.9 million in aid is needed over the next year to combat the epidemic.
An American woman’s fight to give Haitians clean water
A case of bottled water (400ml) costs around $36 and may last a family about two weeks before the empty bottles end up in a landfill where they would take hundreds of years to decompose. But, a donation of US$30 or TT$180 can literally save lives by guaranteeing that a destitute family living in Haiti has access to clean and safe water; not for two weeks or one month, but for as much as five years.
Recently, FilterPure partnered with another NGO – Global Effect, and established a factory in Jacmel, Haiti where Haitians themselves will be employed to build, manufacture and distribute the life-saving water filters. With a last place ranking on the water poverty index scale, Haiti has the worst access to clean water in the world according to World Water Council. As a result, Haiti has the highest infant mortality rate in the Americas. The Pan American Health Organisation has reported that more than half of all deaths in Haiti were as a result of contaminated water.
’Knowing mothers have to watch their babies die from something preventable as diarrhea is very hard to watch,’ executive director, of FilterPure, Lisa Ballantine told the Express in a phone interview.
The use of the filter is simple, water is poured and filtered through the ceramic pot where it is collected and stored in a five gallon bucket with a tap at the bottom from which a family can drink safe water. In the first week following the devastating January 12th earthquake in Haiti, FilterPure distributed more than 700 filters.
The ceramic water filters not only provide Haitians with clean, safe water, but the filters are produced locally thereby providing much needed employment for Haitians.
’Access to clean water is going to be the most critical issue facing Haiti which we in the developing world have to respond to. It can be resolved,’ said Ballantine.
To find out more about or to donate, visit: FilterPure
Source: Trinidad and Tobago express, 19 Jun 2010
By Kimberly Castillo
Haiti, Gonaives: water a costly commodity in storm-ravaged city
Six months after devastating hurricanes and storms descended on Haiti, drinking water remains a rare and precious commodity in the northern city of Gonaives.
Mudslides [in 2008] buried the city under 2.6 million tonnes of mud and completely destroyed the already crumbling national drinking water network (Snep) which operates via water-selling stands and private wells. With some unable to pay for their vital water needs, the population relies instead on tankers provided by NGOs or the United Nations, or is forced to drink contaminated water.
«The installations we have set up or rehabilitated supply two fifths of the city, and about 25 percent is supplied by the Snep network, which remains very fragile,» said Julien Atchade, who heads water and decontamination efforts by NGOs and the United Nations in Gonaives.
«The price [of water] has doubled since the hurricane, it’s two gourdes (5 cents). I need to come at least three times a day and sometimes I pay more than I earn and I need to use unpurified water», [said Izma Silene, a small business owner and a mother of six]. Snep resident engineer Chedlair Saint-Just said «the price is determined locally with stand managers,» who receive 25 percent of the revenue, with the rest going to the water service.
Read more: Isabelle Ligner, Yahoo! News, 17 Mar 2009