CaribWorldNews, COCONUT CREEK, FL, Tues. Oct. 26, 2010: A top U.S.-based, non-profit organization says water filtration systems it installed in several areas in Haiti prior to the outbreak of cholera is actually the solution to stopping the spread of the disease since access to clean water is a matter of life and death for the people of Haiti.
Food For The Poor, which has been serving Haitians for the past 24-years, says its water filtration units are currently operational in Poirier, Desdunes, Dokozel, Villard, Petit Reviere, Poteneau, Descarreaux, Marchands Dessalines and Gros Chaudière and so far there have been no cases of cholera reported in those areas.
`Where Food For The Poor has installed water treatment systems prior to this crisis we have not heard of a single reported case of cholera,` said Daniel Rouzier, the Chairman of Food For The Poor-Haiti, who is coordinating Food For The Poor`s in-country response in the Caribbean nation.
The group says the filtration systems each can treat up to 10,000 gallons of water per day and reduce waterborne diseases by removing suspended pathogens.
Meanwhile, the group has also set up10 solar-powered filtration units in Haiti`s affected Artibonite region and mobilized the distribution of bottled water by the container.
Water Missions International in partnership with Food For The Poor has helped to install the water filtration units. Food For The Poor officials say an additional 10 water filtration units will be air freighted and installed in the Artibonite region, for a total of 20 since the cholera outbreak.
`Cholera and malaria do not kill people in First World countries where there is access to medicine,` said Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor`s Executive Director. `In Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, destitute children are often emaciated and their immune systems are compromised. If the disease is not contained, the problem could expand well beyond its current bounds.`
The group also pointed out that pit latrines and sanitation blocks that include both toilets and shower stalls are critically needed to prevent the spread of dysentery, cholera and malaria.
`Water from the rivers, where the majority of the people find water to drink, bathe, cook and wash, is the same river where animals drink, bathe and defecate,` added Aloma.
The organization is currently pitching in to help the over 3,000 diagnosed with the disease through the airlifting of antibiotics and oral rehydration salts as well as soap, toothpaste and other personal care items to help prevent spread of disease. So far 259 people have died from the water borne disease.
Approximately 31,000 personal care and hygiene kits were shipped from the Coconut Creek distribution center on Friday, Food For The Poor said in a statement yesterday while blankets for more than 46,600 people left Food For The Poor`s Coconut Creek distribution center Monday.
Food For The Poor, the third-largest international relief and development organization in the U.S., does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America.
The interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.