Port-au-Prince –Over the weekend, water and sanitation experts from Action Against Hunger | ACF International started distributing drinking water to 35,000 quake survivors. The organisation’s technical experts identified priority zones for water distributions: the Canape Vert district, where some 9,000 people have gathered, and the Champ de Mars district where between 20,000 and 25,000 displaced have congregated.
Action Against Hunger launched emergency distributions of water by setting up two water points employing three large reservoirs, or “bladders,” to distribute a minimum of 5 liters of water to an initial 9,000 individuals — the bladders themselves filled regularly by tanker trucks bringing clean water from outside Port-au-Prince. Action Against Hunger’s teams are finalising preparations for an additional four or five water points in the Champ de Mars area — efforts that will ensure access to drinking water for more than 35,000 people in three key areas of Port-au-Prince.
These emergency water points will ensure immediate access to drinking water for the displaced, but Action Against Hunger will also turn its attention to restoring water distribution networks by repairing pipes and infrastructure for longer term sustainability.
As proper sanitation is of equal concern in an emergency setting such as Haiti, Action Against Hunger’s teams are awaiting authorisation from the National Directorate of Water Port-au-Prince to dig trenches around the camps to dispose of the accumulating waste and human faeces which can quickly become real public health threats.
Meanwhile, Action Against Hunger’s teams are preparing to launch nutritional programmes to provide assistance to young infants. “In an emergency situations such as this, stress and trauma can temporarily interfere with the flow of breast milk,” said Action Against Hunger’s Operations Director, Flaurence Daunis. “In such a situation, it is important to create conditions that facilitate breastfeeding, such as establishing safe ‘areas’ for mothers and infants.”
The emergency phase of Action Against Hunger’s interventions in Haiti are designed to cover humanitarian needs for at least the next several months, with complementary interventions planned to deliver crucial services in nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene and longer-term food security.