After the initial flooding and damage left by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, a wave of secondary effects like water contamination plagues many communities in Haiti.
“After Matthew’s passage, our wells were contaminated,” said Sister Yveline Fevrier, a school teacher in Port-à-Piment. Since the hurricane, she’s been worried about keeping her students healthy.
But now, Sister Yveline has one less worry. During the first week of May, PADF provided clean water to more than 13,500 Haitians affected by the tragedy, including Sister Yveline and her students.
Thanks to donations from members of the Caribbean Desalination Association (CaribDA), PADF distributed 217 water filtration systems to 71 schools in southern Haiti. Filters were installed in high-traffic areas where they can be easily accessed and maintained. Haitian supplier Cayman Water Company, a CaribDA member, was pleased to support its neighbors by donating 75 of the filtration systems, which include locally manufactured buckets.
“We accept these gifts with great enthusiasm,” said Sister Yveline. “We will be able to provide pure water to the pupils.”
Not just a few pupils, either. This efficient filtration system can pump out 540 gallons of clean water per day, enough to protect entire communities from preventable waterborne illnesses like cholera, typhoid and E.Coli.
In addition to providing clean water, the filtration systems also provide a sense of stability for the region by fulfilling a basic need. Access to clean water can be unpredictable in regions that undergo seasonal hurricanes, like Haiti. Instead of worrying about her students, Sister Yveline can return her focus – and the children’s focus – to the classroom.
PADF collaborated with municipalities in southern Haiti to identify strategic locations for the filters. Three of the hardest hit communes in southern Haiti were left with little or no access to clean water: Chardonnières, Port-à-Piment and Les Anglais. Within those communities, 71 schools were identified to receive the filters, reaching thousands of children and community members.
During the hurricane, schools were leveraged as shelters from the storm. These schools have become a natural meeting place and an ideal spot for centralized access to clean water.
Although months have passed since the disaster, some roads are still treacherous or even impassable. School teacher Recimène Felix arrived to receive a water filter. Recimène brought back access to clean water for a community that had been cut off by the disaster for months.
“We came here to retrieve the kits because the roads are cut off,” said Recimène. “This gift is very useful for the health of the children.”
The mayor of Port-à-Piment, Francois Violette, knows about the serious consequences of natural disasters that affect her community. She was concerned about access to clean water as well. Her community had already recorded several cases of waterborne illness. But with the new water filters in the community, more than 13,500 people have a safe place to fill their cups.
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