Haiti earthquake: thousands of people in desperate need of healthcare and clean water – Haiti
Port-au-Prince, Panama, Geneva, September 7, 2021 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warns that access to health care and clean water is essential to the aftermath of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on August 14.
More than 212,000 people are affected by damaged water supply systems, limiting their access to safe drinking water for drinking and hygiene, putting them at risk of water-borne diseases.
Felipe del Cid, IFRC’s Head of Operations in Haiti, said:
“The damage assessments carried out by the Haitian Red Cross and the IFRC show that there are serious needs in terms of health, water, sanitation and hygiene. Providing health care, ensuring access to clean water and promoting hygiene is vital at this stage of the humanitarian response. It can prevent epidemics and save lives. “
To meet health and hygiene needs, the Haitian Red Cross and the IFRC distributed water and hygiene kits to 2,115 families in the departments of Nippes and the South. They also received other relief items, such as tarpaulins, blankets and kitchen utensils. In total, the IFRC and its network have already delivered 199 tons of relief to the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. From there it is transported to the affected areas by road, air or sea.
“Further distributions are planned over the next few weeks, despite the difficult context. Delivering humanitarian aid is a complex task due to factors such as damaged roads, food insecurity, the COVID-19 pandemic and socio-political instability, ”added del Cid.
Preventing the spread of water-borne diseases through access to safe drinking water and hygiene promotion is at the heart of the earthquake response. The Red Cross has already installed two water factories in the remote area of L’Asile. These factories will produce 60,000 liters of safe, clean water per day for 4,000 people. Other factories will be installed in the following weeks, starting with one in Grand’Anse.
There is also an increased risk of vector-borne diseases and respiratory-transmitted diseases such as COVID-19. This is the result of a combination of displacement, poor shelter options and a lack of adequate access to safe drinking water. The Red Cross continues to promote public health measures, including protective measures against COVID-19, to mitigate the risk of an outbreak.
Dr Guiteau Jean-Pierre, President of the Haitian Red Cross, said:
“Haiti faces overlapping crises: the pandemic, the earthquake and pre-existing humanitarian needs. In coordination with authorities, communities, partners and stakeholders, the Red Cross will continue to work tirelessly to assist and prepare the most vulnerable communities. Another potential emergency could endanger their lives. “
The situation in affected communities could deteriorate even further, as Haiti is likely to face more weather-related disasters in the weeks and months to come. The Caribbean is in the midst of hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 and peaks between August and October. In anticipation of these disasters, humanitarian teams on the ground are supporting the Haitian Red Cross’s preparedness plans.
To help those still in need, the IFRC has released funds from its Emergency Fund (DREF) and launched an emergency appeal for 10 million Swiss francs to continue providing life-saving humanitarian aid and supporting recovery from the earthquake.
For more information, to arrange interviews with Red Cross staff in the field, or to request a B roll / photos, please contact:
In Haiti: Naomi Nolte | +31646808096 (WhatsApp) | +509 3616 5890 | [email protected]
In Panama: Susana Arroyo Barrantes | +507 6999-3199 | [email protected]
In Geneva: Teresa Gonçalves | +44 7891 857 056 | [email protected]