Sandra Honoré, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Haiti and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), inaugurated on 8 December a water capture and distribution project in the town of Merger, an hour outside of the Caribbean nation’s capital Port au Prince.
Funded by MINUSTAH through the Quick Impact Projects (QIP), the $80,000 venture will supply water through nearly 5,000 metres of underground pipes to 12 kiosks spread through the surrounding communities in Gressier commune.
It will allow 60,000 people to access to clean water on a daily basis. The underwater pipes are less likely to be broken by storms or human acts, than pipes running above ground, and thus will prevent the contamination or theft of the water from this vital supply system.
MINUSTAH’s QIPs are intended to support the Haitian authorities in improving public infrastructure and living conditions. This project has the crucial benefit of helping Haiti and the UN address the ongoing cholera problem in Haiti, which has claimed more than 9,000 lives since 2010.
“This is a very important project for the community here in K-Gato in the commune of Gressier. It is an important project because it is one of the key elements to help prevent the transmission, not only of cholera, but also of a number of water-borne diseases,” said Ms. Honoré, adding that this will work directly in line with the Haitian Government’s Plan for the Elimination of Cholera for the period of 2013-2022.
Highlighting the urgent need for clean water in Haiti, she said: “The statistics that we have from the water and sewage authority of Haiti indicate that only 42 per cent of the Haitian population has access to safe water. So increasing access of the population in communities that are far removed from central urban centres like the communities in this area in the commune of Gressier will indeed work and contribute to the major task and the overall task of the Government of Haiti for the elimination of the transmission of cholera.”
She went on to say that the project is one small element of the overall UN response in support of the efforts of the Government of Haiti to bring clean water to the population throughout the country and also in collaboration with the work that the entire UN system – including the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – are doing in this respect.
Ms. Honoré added that the UN has five of these water management projects either ongoing or in the planning stages for other areas in Haiti which will reach some 100,000 beneficiaries.
Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed the UN General Assembly on his report, A new approach to cholera in Haiti, and outlined the way forward including immediate steps to stem the outbreak and long-term support for those affected – while also highlighting the need for adequate funding of the proposal.
Through nearly 5,000 metres of underground pipes to 12 kiosks, a new UN funded water capture and distribution center will supply water to surrounding communities in Gressier commune, in Merger, an hour away from the capital Port-au-Prince.
Working effectively and efficiently against the propagation of cholera
Echoing the words of the Secretary-General, Ms. Honore said that “cholera and all water-borne diseases are diseases that are beatable. We can work effectively and efficiently against the propagation of cholera. But this can only be done if there is financial support.” She ended her remarks by urging UN Member States and donors to support the Secretary-General’s new approach “in order to assist the people of Haiti who deserve this support from us at this time.”