Haiti is a country located in the Caribbean Sea having a population of around 11.4 million. Haiti freed itself from the colonial rule of France in 1804. However, the economic, political, social difficulties, & several natural disasters, have plagued Haiti with serious problems like chronic illness, high crime rate, water crisis, and poverty.
According to the World Bank, around 54 % of the Haiti people live on less than the U.S. $1 a day and 78 % on less than the U.S. $2.
Furthermore, the share of the population with access to potable water has decreased from 62% to 52% between 1990 & 2015. Well, according to the World Bank data, 2001, less than half of Haitians in rural areas have access to water. This is a serious situation because without water there is nothing we can rely on.
These statistics may seem shocking to you, but once you take into consideration the long history of political oppression in Haiti, it isn’t surprising to see that the people of Haiti are suffering so much. Certain factors such as poor literacy rate, high population density, and soil erosion are a reason for the suffering. According to the United Nations Special Envoy, “16% of the total child deaths in Haiti are due to waterborne diseases.”
NATURAL DISASTERS IN HAITI
These reports represent the situation before Haiti was hit by one of the worst natural disasters in its history. On January 12th, 2010, a massive earthquake of magnitude 7.0 hit the country, causing widespread devastation in the regions of Carrefour, Pétion-Ville, Delmas, Tabarre, Cite Soleil, and Kenscoff.
Several hospitals, schools, communication systems, roads, essential service infrastructure, well, and water systems were destroyed. Further worsening the social and economic condition of Haiti. These were the primary source of freshwater for the natives of Haiti.
In October 2010, Haiti suffered widespread reinfection of Cholera leaving about 10,000 people dead and another 800,000 sick. This was because of the reckless sewage disposal practices of the UN troops.
In Jacmel, one of the hardest-hit regions in Haiti, 22% of the people who contracted Cholera died. Cholera is now an Epidemic in Haiti. From there, things have only gone downhill for Haiti. Even 10 years later, the problems of water scarcity have only increased and the earthquake has worsened the crisis of inadequate clean water supply.
Most problems in Haiti are still caused directly by the shortage of clean drinking water. Contaminated water is the leading cause of the High Infant Mortality rate in Haiti according to the 2018 data of Statista.com. This makes the country’s Infant Mortality Rate the highest in the Western Hemisphere.
Some Serious Illness Issues…
Waterborne illnesses, such as typhoid, cholera, and chronic diarrhea, cause more than half of the deaths in Haiti every year. Other natural disasters like Hurricanes and droughts have only pushed Haiti to the brink. Thus, destroying everything that came in their way, from houses to natural water resources.
According to the reports of Al Jazeera in 2018, residents of Delmas, an extension of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, have access to only one source of clean water and have to pay 16 cents to fill up a 20-liter bucket of freshwater. The poor people of Haiti, which make up a major part of the total population cannot afford to pay for this luxury and resulting in the dirty water of local rivers.
It is saddening to think that in countries like Haiti, water is not a basic right anymore, but nowadays we have to purchase it.
HOW TO HELP
As grim as the situation in Haiti is today, there is a ray of hope. The country’s Humanitarian crisis has grabbed some attention in recent years. Many NGOs, publicly funded organizations, and national initiatives have come forward to rescue Haiti from this disaster.
1. VOLUNTEERING AND DONATIONS
Well, most of these organizations work on money funded by the government and donations made by good Samaritans. There are several ways in which we can contribute to improving the lives of the Haiti people.
Some of the most prominent organizations working in Haiti are actively looking for new volunteers, fundraisers, and possible partners. You can contribute directly or indirectly to these initiatives:
• Living water international: The non-profit organization has found its goal over 25 years ago and has been doing remarkable work in communities where water scarcity is a serious issue.
• Friends of the Children of Haiti (FOTCOH): In the 1970s, Dick and Barb found this organization and took a medical mission trip to Haiti. They decided to do something about the grim conditions there.
• Poured Out: It aims to help families, individuals, and communities which face the challenge of finding access to clean water daily. Poured out installs Hydroid Bio-filters in residential homes and provides clean water to the family.
• Haiti National Clean Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Strategy: This is a national initiative in Haiti that aims to provide all Haitians access to financially sustainable, potable water.
Small initiatives are great ways to raise funds for water projects. These include the following factors.
• organizing water challenges
• hosting local contests
It is important to remember that even a small amount of money adds to a much bigger cause. And helping underprivileged people lead better lives. Once your group gathers more attention, you can upscale to hold bigger events and raise a larger sum of money.
The best part about this is that you can fundraise yourself and build your very own well! Get your family and friends involved and really make a change in the world and in Haiti.
3. EDUCATING AND SPREADING AWARENESS
The most powerful way to help is to educate family and friends about the water crisis going on in various parts of the world. This can include workshops and campaigns. Educating more people means that you are also encouraging them to look for solutions. Studying the underlying causes of water scarcity and the ways to combat it and encouraging those around you to brainstorm new ways to improve water quality can result in ground-breaking inventions that may one day make a global impact. A large number of ground-breaking inventions often come from educating people and encouraging them to contribute.
4. PROMOTING WATER STEWARDSHIP
Promoting water stewardship is a great way of encouraging others to save water. Shorter showers, low flow toilets, and the reuse of greywater at workplaces, homes, and schools encourage people to think about their water consumption and use water more wisely.
5. WATER HARVESTING
Water harvesting has been encouraged in our societies for decades and yet surprisingly few people implement it in their lives. This process is especially useful in countries with harsh climate conditions and scarcity of water. Contributing small is better than reading big. Besides reducing water bills and providing an alternative source of clean water. Rainwater harvesting also decreases stormwater runoff, thereby helping to reduce waterlogging and local flooding.
SO WHAT NEXT?
Water is a basic necessity for our lives. Clean water is life savior on the other hand if we consume impure water then this may lead to some serious illness. While the water crisis in Haiti may feel pretty intimidating, it is important to remember that the living conditions are slowly but surely improving. The future of Haiti and its water resources is not at a good stage, but it is possible, by the combined efforts of all of us, to secure a better future for the coming generations of Haiti.
To get more personally involved, join our Generous Community or give to our mission of eradicating the injustices of dirty water.