Last month, Hurricane Matthew tore through the Caribbean, directly impacting the southern region of Haiti, causing devastating flooding and creating a relentless path of destruction to homes and livelihoods, as well as taking a reported 546 human lives. It left behind nearly $2 billion in damage (source: World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank) and a surge in cholera, a waterborne disease.
Pure Water for the World is not a disaster relief organization. We focus on partnering with communities to implement long-term, sustainable safe water solutions, that include a strong educational training component, to create lasting change.
However, we firmly believe that when human or natural disasters strike, we have an obligation to efficiently and effectively assist those impacted in ways that are appropriate and that maximize our knowledge and experience, as well as our resources.
In southern Haiti, as a result of the hurricane, there is an acute need for people to have access to safe drinking water now. People are too traumatized to focus on long-term solutions, as they are in great need of getting their most basic and immediate needs for safe water met today.
As we did after the 2010 earthquake, after Hurricane Matthew struck, our Haitian staff quickly mobilized, reaching out to help the people in Cité Soleil communities, as well as reaching out to other communities, including those in the southern region of Haiti.
With the majority of the hurricane destruction taking place in the south, where PWW has not worked, we are collaborating with organizations that we have trained and/or previously worked with to facilitate the aid process. Highlights of our impact efforts include:
- Buckets and AQUATABS®. PWW is distributing five-gallon buckets and a three-month supply of AQUATABS® water purification tablets to affected families. To facilitate this effort, we have collaborated with our long-time colleagues at UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) for help. We will be providing the Bishop of Haiti and local churches with the buckets and tablets. Together, we will reach people in need, as well as provide safe water and hygiene training.
- Clean water containers. DOW Chemical has donated 12,000 plastic pouches to PWW, as well as financial support to distribute the pouches. These pouches will go to the families who receive the buckets and AQUATABS so that children can take clean water to school and adults can drink clean water at work.
- Comprehensive support with St Boniface Hospital. PWW is working in partnership with St. Boniface
Hospital, located in the southern region of Haiti where Hurricane Matthew caused the greatest damage, supporting response to prevent the spread of cholera and other diarrheal diseases through the dissemination of water buckets, water purification tablets, soap and other basic sanitation materials with the goal of improving access to clean water and helping affected families meet basic standards for disease control. PWW will also extend WASH training and consulting services to teams at St Boniface Hospital, affiliates, and affected families.
Funds raised during a benefit concert held by The Tribe (pictured right), a collective of all-star touring and session musicians and singers who perform concerts for various causes throughout Los Angeles, CA, will directly support this effort. (read more)
We will continue to partner with relief organizations and NGOs, as well as with Haitian government agencies, to provide clean water solutions and WASH education programs that will help to prevent the spread of cholera and other waterborne diseases in the areas impacted by the hurricane.