80% of Haiti is affected by drought, with heavy consequences on the quality and quantity of water available. The widespread practice of deforestation, which exhausts the soil, coupled with the damages caused by Hurricane Matthew make things even worst: drinking water is becoming ever more of a rarity. Water shortage has also a negative impact on agriculture; in the Grand’Anse department, where the population lives out of subsistence farming, production has worryingly decreased.
In Corail and Pestel, Cesvi has recently concluded a programme targeting the population affected by drought and at risk of undernutrition and cholera.
The project, funded by Unicef, had focused on responding to population’s needs related to water. New water-supply systems have been provided, whereas those damaged have been rehabilitated; the capacities of the members of the Commissions for water systems management have been strengthened; lastly, following the improvement of the population’s hygienic conditions, the spreading of diseases like cholera has decreased.
The story of Luckna
Merlette Luckna lives with her 6 children in Corail, in the Grand’Anse department; she’s the only family member who earns an income, mostly thanks to the collection and sale of tubers and charcoal, as most of the poorest families in Haiti does.
In 2016 her house was seriously damaged by the passage of Hurricane Matthew. The roof fell down; now their shelter is made up of battered metal sheets found in the surroundings.
The hurricane has also destroyed water-supply systems: Luckna, her children and their community were forced to use rainwater for drinking, cooking and washing, with the risks of getting cholera.
Luckna, as a single woman head of a family, was one of the first persons to be selected for being part of Cesvi’s water and sanitation programme. Thanks to the intervention, water-supply systems for family use were rehabilitated: a local construction crew repaired the well that supply Luckna and her children with drinking water; they filled cracks, fixed floor and walls and covered the wall mouth with a protective lid.
Luckna, as other targeted families, has also received a “clean water” kit, which includes a 20L bucket with a lid and a tap, a tank, 5 cups, 5 soaps and 2 liquid chlorine bottles to make water drinkable. “Cesvi is providing concrete aid for our community. Potable water is now available to everyone, and we are not risking to get sick because of dirty or contaminated water”.
In photo: Wells are running again thanks to Cesvi’s intervention.