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news | July 11, 2017 | Haiti | Emergency

From emergency response to sustainable access to water in Haiti, nine months after Matthew

At the source of the dike, the teams takes flow measurements in order to prepare the work @ACTED HAITI 2017

In October 2016, Jérémie, the chief town of the Grand'Anse department, was one of the most affected by Hurricane Matthew, with extreme on access to water because of destroyed infrastructures, mudflows and difficult sanitary conditions. This paved the way to a new cholera outbreak. The number of suspected cases doubled between September and October.

In response to this situation, ACTED teams in Haiti have been implementing emergency water access solutions, by installing water chlorination points and water treatment plants in the areas most at risk, and by distributing water treatment tablets (Aquatabs). These emergency measures enabled to ensure access to treated water and reduce risks to human health. This contributed to stem the cholera epidemic, which has now almost disappeared from the South and Grand’Anse department, the two most affected areas.

Nine months after Matthew, the priority is to strengthen a sustainable access to safe water. In address the constraints the populations are facing in accessing water and the potential health consequences, ACTED is thus working on the construction of a new water supply system in Jérémie city. Populations have to go directly to the sources or to rely on private providers to buy untreated water that can generate diseases. Beyond the health risk, the price of water offered by private providers is high and likely to increase during dry periods, adding an additional strain to people already in a vulnerable and difficult situation.

The construction of the new water supply system will cover the rehabilitation of the water catchment of the source of the dike, located near the city, the installation of a water treatment system and the construction of water distribution kiosks.

"Ownership by the local populations is crucial to ensure the sustainability of this system," explains Vincent, the project manager. “The inhabitants will choose representatives to form a Water and Sanitation Supply Committee (CAEPA), which will be responsible for the proper management of this water supply system. Pricing will be set at a lower price: it will ensure the maintenance of the network, and thus guarantee sustainable access to drinking water for the inhabitants of Jérémie."