UN inaugurates water supply system in Haiti anti-cholera fightTuesday, April 18, 2017
UNITED NATIONS, United States (CMC) — The United Nations has inaugurated a water supply system in the Lascahobas Commune as part of its anti-cholera fight in Haiti.
On Monday, the top United Nations humanitarian official in Haiti said all efforts to ensure the provision of safe water and sanitation are “crucial to eliminate cholera” in the French-speaking Caribbean country.
Residents fill containers at a water capture and distribution project point in a town an hour outside of Port au Prince.
“Elimination of cholera can be achieved in the medium term – two or three years – if emphasis is placed on immediate action,” said El-Mostafa Benlamlih, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti.
“That is to say, an emphasis [must be] put on response capacity, management and immediate treatment of water,” he added. “But nothing can be done without an investment in water, sanitation and hygiene.”
Historically, the UN said the people in the Madan Mak and Loncy areas of the Lascahobas Commune have always had serious problems with access to safe drinking water.
Situated in a mountainous region of Haiti’s Central Plateau, a few hundred kilometres from the capital Port-au-Prince, the two communities – up to just a few weeks ago – were among the 42 per cent of the country’s population still without access to safe drinking water in 2017, the UN said.
It said that when the cholera epidemic hit the Plateau Central, “the need for safe potable water became crucial to eliminate the transmission of the disease.”
“Before the water came here, we had to do a lot of work to find drinking water. We were forever obliged to go fetch water from Mont-Désir, which is miles away,” Maria-Rose Joseph, a resident of Loncy, told the UN.
When she could not travel the distance, Joseph was obliged to use a source of unsafe water – despite the risks of transmission of water-borne diseases, such as diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid and cholera, the UN said.
To address the concerns of those living in Mangoule, the UN said Haiti’s Department of Artibonite proposed a new project to the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
“It was an essential project for the area because the residents had no drinking water,” said Fritson Jean-Baptiste, adviser to the Department of Artibonite. “Other areas also have the same problem; but, for now, we do not have the resources to carry out these other essential projects.
“The entire Petit-Fond area benefits from safe water provision,” he added. “Certainly, without the help of MINUSTAH, the project would never have happened, and that is why we want to thank all those involved.”
The UN said the project involved the capture of water from the Mangoule spring, following which a sedimentation basin of eight cubic metres was built.
Then, a 60-cubic-metre tank to store the water to supply the eight kiosks and three water points were constructed.
The UN said the total cost of the project was US$94,280 – of which US$89,195 was financed by MINUSTAH.
“The project now makes it possible to meet the needs of more than 14,000 people by making access to drinking water easier,” the UN said.
Lehon Johasse, Coordinator for Actions en Santé et en Développement d’Haïti, one of the local implementing agencies for this type of project, said: “Our water needs are crystal clear; and, with the implementation of every successful new project, one can really see the change and improvement in the people’s living conditions.
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