As a result of our medical mission trips, we have identified that many of the illnesses can be traced to the lack of clean water. Therefore, Helping Hugs has initiated “Clean Water” projects to help improve the health and hygiene of the people of Côtes-de-Fer.
CLEAN WATER Projects
Water is basic to life. For those in Haiti it is a daily struggle to first find a source of water and then haul that water back to their home. For many, that source of water is the nearest stream or river. For others it may be rain water collected in a cistern at home or at their local parish. Unfortunately, Haiti is currently experiencing a severe drought leaving the streams, rivers and cisterns dry. Haiti frequently goes through cycles of wet and dry periods except, this year, the rainy season was not wet at all.
If finding water was not in itself a difficult problem, consider that most of the water is not fit to drink. The results are illnesses that we do not experience here in the US. Water borne diseases are a major health issue in Haiti. Many areas of Haiti are currently experiencing Cholera outbreaks. Other illnesses attributed to contaminated water are E.Coli, Typhoid, Hepatitis A,B,E, Salmonella Typhi, Meningitis, Worms, Amebic Dysentery and more. While many NGO’s in Haiti are working to combat this problem, there is much ground to cover.
Helping Hugs’ medical team recognized this problem early in their visits to Côtes-de-Fer and reported back to our organization. That is why, in 2016, we undertook and completed our first water project, for the St. Joseph Parish and the community of Cotes-de-Fer. Helping Hugs, Inc. funded the project which was built by World Water Relief, a water purification company founded by Dr. Kevin Fussell, a local practicing physician. The system uses a government supplied source of water, which is not safe to drink, and through a series of filters renders it potable. It is then stored in large tanks and distributed on a schedule to those in need. Our medical team has indicated that they have seen a decrease of medical issues related to clean water in this area.
Continuing our efforts 2 cisterns were built to increase the available water supply in areas where it is scarce. We have also built 2 water purification systems to supply potable water to communities in an effort to reduce a multitude of health issues associated with contaminated water.
Our latest efforts are directed to drilling wells in communities where a source of clean, potable water does not exist. A history of our efforts are detailed below.
We appreciate the support you have given to the people of Haiti in supplying some of their basic needs. Your donations are greatly appreciated. Together we are making a difference. Let’s continue to work together to bring safe drinking water to the communities served by our twin parish, St. Joseph.
Current plans for this year is to build 2 cisterns to increase the supply of water in areas where water is scarce and the nearest source is 1 to 2 hours walk away. Our first cistern pictured below is has been completed in the mountain community of Platon. The 47,500 gallon tank will provide water to the local school, Sacred Heart Chapel and surrounding population especially during the dry season. The plan is to utilize current good practices to improve on the efficiency of water capture and cleanliness of the rainwater to assure it is safe to drink. Once the water is in the tank, practices will be put in place to maintain the safety, cleanliness and drinkability of the water.
The 2nd planned cistern will be completed in 2020 in the community of Bouca Moran.
Cistern Construction Completed at Platon
The community continually prays for rain to fill the 47,500 gallon cistern.
Merci Seigneur” (Thank you God”) was the reaction of the parishioners of St. Matthias chapel when the pure water flowed, August 27th. These people have been working toward this day for many years.
Thanks to our partner, World Water Relief, we were able to provide water on the main street of the village for the community and behind the chapel for a children’s hand washing station.
While we are pleased with our accomplishments to date, we still have work to do. Our school children also need a clean safe source of water to keep them healthy and in school. We authorized the purchase of 2 small water purifying system, manufactured by LifeStraw, each of the schools we support. This system will supply enough water for drinking and cooking.
We are currently investigating the feasibility and cost of drilling a well to supply our first water purification system in Cotês-de-Fer. The government water source has been erratic during the drought and there is always a fee for the water used. A well would eliminate the cost as well as interruptions in the water supply.
Our first water purification system was installed as of July 22, 2016 supplying clean water to three locations: the education/rectory building, the school and the church where the community has access as well. A hand-washing and drinking station has been built at the school as part of the project. People from the village will now be able to access clean water in the center of town, rather than walking hours to the nearest government provided source. We are most grateful to Dr. Kevin Fussell and his organization, World Water Relief, for their commitment to this project.
As a result of the success of this project, we are beginning work on a second project to be located in the village of Metayer, a mountain community that experiences outbreaks of Cholera during the rainy season. Cholera being a water-borne disease, can be significantly reduced with a source of clean, potable water.