Food For The Poor Installs Water Filtration Systems to Aid Prevention of Cholera in Haiti

COCONUT CREEK – Food For The Poor’s 24-year tenure in Haiti has aided the nonprofit’s immediate response to the spread of cholera. As the threat of disease has loomed over Haiti’s recovery from January’s destructive earthquake, Food For The Poor remained committed to investing in sanitation and water projects throughout the country.

“Where Food For The Poor has installed water treatment systems prior to this crisis we have not heard of a single reported case of cholera,” said Daniel Rouzier, the Chairman of Food For The Poor-Haiti, who is coordinating Food For The Poor’s in country response.

The strategy of providing long-term solutions through water filtration systems and permanent housing has benefited regions where Food For The Poor works. The filtration systems each can treat up to 10,000 gallons of water per day and reduce waterborne diseases by removing suspended pathogens. Water filtration units are operational in Poirier, Desdunes (2), Dokozel, Villard, Petit Reviere, Poteneau, Descarreaux, Marchands Dessalines, and Gros Chaudière.

“We have mobilized a good number of doctors and nurses to visit vulnerable areas,” wrote Father Duken Augustin, who partners with Food For The Poor in Cap-Haiten, Haiti. “We continue to fight. Please keep us in your prayers.”

Infected persons, seeking medical help have traveled south to the capital and north to Cap-Haitien, creating the potential for countrywide contamination – to the point where the neighbor country, the Dominican Republic, has closed its border.

Access to clean water is a matter of life and death for the people of Haiti. Food For The Poor moved quickly to install 10 solar-powered filtration units in Haiti’s affected Artibonite region and mobilized the distribution of bottled water by the container. Water Missions International in partnership with Food For The Poor has helped to install the water filtration units. An additional 10 water filtration units will be air freighted and installed in the Artibonite region, for a total of 20 since the cholera outbreak.

“Cholera and malaria do not kill people in First World countries where there is access to medicine,” said Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor’s Executive Director. “In Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, destitute children are often emaciated and their immune systems are compromised. If the disease is not contained, the problem could expand well beyond its current bounds.”

Pit latrines and sanitation blocks that include both toilets and shower stalls are critically needed to prevent the spread of dysentery, cholera and malaria. Food For The Poor’s permanent homes are constructed to meet these standards.

“Water from the rivers, where the majority of the people find water to drink, bathe, cook and wash, is the same river where animals drink, bathe and defecate,” said Aloma.

Critical items being sent are:

1) Medicines, including antibiotics and oral rehydration salts. These will be airlifted.

2) Sanitation and water

3) Hygiene kits with soap, toothpaste and other personal care items to help prevent spread of disease. The distribution of prepositioned supplies in the Port-au-Prince distribution center has been initiated. Approximately 31,000 personal care and hygiene kits were shipped from the Coconut Creek distribution center on Friday.

4) Blankets for more than 46,600 people. Shipment left Food For The Poor’s Coconut Creek distribution center today.

5) Powerade and Pedialyte.

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