An estimated half of all deaths in Haiti are due to water-borne illness. It is one of the leading causes of illness and death among infants and children. The water and sanitation situation, which was already dire before the 2010 earthquake, has only been further complicated by the slow recovery.
Of Haiti’s ten million citizens, forty percent are without access to clean water, and eighty percent are without access to sanitary facilities. Most live on less than $2 per day and safe water is an unaffordable resource. Many use unfiltered water from contaminated sources for cooking and drinking.
Even when not lethal, water-related illnesses such as typhoid, cholera and diarrhea put further strain on struggling families through lost days of work and school.
Clean Water for Haiti and Pure Water for the World are non-profit, locally-based projects that supply simple, inexpensive technologies that can save lives. Slow sand filters are hollow concrete blocks filled with sand. Water is added to the block and seeps through the sand, thus reducing contaminants. The resulting water is clean and safe. Bio sand filters are installed in schools, homes and clinics.
The biofilters are inexpensive and easy to use. Staff, materials and manufacture are locally sourced as much as possible, boosting the local economy as well as providing employment and training. Both projects follow up on installations to ensure ongoing use, and provide education on sanitation and hygiene.