Haiti: CARE Provides for Clean Water After Hurricane Sandy

Haiti: CARE Provides for Clean Water After Hurricane Sandy image 1
A boy pushes a bike through a flooded street in Léogâne, Haiti. © 2012 CARE

While the East Coast of the United States is currently bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, families in Haiti are struggling to recover from its aftermath. Although it did not directly touch Haiti, the country received an unprecedented level of rain. The heavy downpour continued for more than 72 hours and resulted in severe flooding in the lowlands of the island. The destruction is widespread. Homes and crops are damaged and livestock has died. Haiti is extremely mountainous, with only two percent of its original forest cover remaining, making it highly vulnerable to flooding and landslides.

The western regions of Grande Anse and Leogane, where CARE is currently active, were badly hit. According to initial CARE field assessments, more than 6,500 homes have been flooded, damaged or destroyed, with approximately 7,500 people having been displaced. However, a complete overview is sketchy at best as access to many areas, particularly in the Grande Anse, is difficult. The main route is inundated in places with a key bridge destroyed and other routes are impassable by vehicles. Boats and airplanes are currently the only means to transport relief items quickly. The Haitian National Emergency Center reports a total of 7,627 families (approximately 38,000 individuals) have been affected, with 44 deaths and 19 grave injuries.

CARE had been preparing for a possible emergency response in Grand Anse and Leogane these areas before the hurricane hit the country. The emergency team now is planning to support affected people with clean water as in many areas. Because water points have been damaged, the population dependent on river water for consumption, which is not only dangerous due to its dangerously high levels, but the risk of cholera.

CARE will assist in distributing aqua tabs to purify water, soap and jerry cans. In order to provide clean water, CARE”s water and sanitation team may also install water bladders as needed. CARE will also assess current project sites and cholera treatment centers to determine the level of repair required to reestablish access to potable water and sanitation facilities.

In Leogane, especially in the areas of Saria and Bino, where 300 families lost their homes and all possessions, CARE is supporting other local organizations which have already response plans in place CARE has more than 40 trained staff, including social mobilizers, water and sanitation experts, as well as engineers that are available to assist organizations carrying out emergency assistance.