What does water filtration mean for Mijaba Bainet?
The Need for Clean, Filtered Water in Haiti is Unparalleled.
It may seem simple to grab a drink of water, whether it be from the tap or in a sealed bottle. Most of us are fortunate enough to have access to clean drinking water to the point that we don’t even think of it as a privilege and certainly not a luxury. In Haiti, the need for clean water is unparalleled. Haiti has been drastically affected by a combination of natural disasters and an unstable government that is unable to respond accordingly to the water crisis the Haitian people face. Both the Port-au-Prince earthquake that struck the island in 2010 and the subsequent mudslides,have made Haiti a very difficult place to live. Before the earthquake struck, a third of the population did not have access to safe drinking water. Much of the country’s infrastructure including hospitals, places of worship, and schools had been reduced to rubble, leaving over one million Haitians displaced, without a home.
After the earthquake, many fled to rural areas of Haiti to escape the possibility of being hurt or killed by falling rubble resulting from recurring aftershocks. As the rural areas became over-crowded with people living in tents,the water supply grew weak and heavily contaminated. Now, just 1 in 5 Haitians has access to a sanitary toilet. It will take years for Haiti to rebuild their sanitation infrastructure, and to once again gain access to clean, safe drinking water.
Water is the catalyst to their recovery; sustainable water sources need to be built, lives need to be saved. Most of the Haitian population have access to only water that is contaminated by many waterborne illnesses, such as typhoid, cholera, and chronic diarrhea. These illnesses are responsible for more than half of the deaths reported in Haiti each year. These waterborne illnesses are also one of the leading causes of early childhood illness and the very high infant death rate of 5.7% of all births. People are dying from drinking water.
Potential groundwater exists in the mountain terrain of Haiti and also around some coastal areas, yet gaining access to the water has been a challenge for countless Haitians. With an estimated 80% of Haitians living below the poverty line and with the decline of the government in Haiti, the financial resources needed to restore the sanitation infrastructure and water supply is slim to none outside of donations. Even with the support of countless non-profit organizations, Haiti is still a struggling community that needs all the help it can get.
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