News / Americas

Haitians Search for Clean Water

People suffering cholera symptoms rest on stretchers as they crowd the entrance of a public hospital in Limbe village near Cap Haitian, Haiti, 22 Nov 2010
People suffering cholera symptoms rest on stretchers as they crowd the entrance of a public hospital in Limbe village near Cap Haitian, Haiti, 22 Nov 2010

Multimedia

As aid workers in Haiti struggle to contain the cholera outbreak, one of the biggest obstacles is access to safe water. In rural areas, many people rely on rivers and streams from which to wash, bath and drink. The Artibonite River, identified as a possible source of the outbreak, winds through vast areas of the country north of Port au Prince. Now feared unsafe, many residents of the area have nowhere to go for fresh water.

Here, along a tributary of the Artibonite River is where some of the first cholera cases in Haiti were reported. More than 50 residents of the impoverished neighborhood of Villa, North of Saint Marc, have died so far. Many - like Evans Monee - are looking for answers.

"We don't know where it came from," said Monee. "But we know this was one of the first places where cholera was found, and a lot of people died because we have no clean water. Look at the kids over here. Even if we wanted to clean them up, what water could we clean them up with?"

The Artibonite plane, a few hours North of the capital, Port au Prince, consists of rich agricultural lands fed by the river. Allegations that cholera was brought to Haiti by Nepalese U.N. Peacekeepers camped up stream, led to violent protests last week, though the source of the outbreak has not been determined.

None of that concerns the residents of Villa. They worry about where they will get safe water. Monee told us there are three sources for water in the area: river and well water, which are considered unsafe. And water from this chlorine treatment tank, donated by an NGO. (Non-government organization).

"A white man came and gave us this machine," said Monee. "But the problem is, the water is so bitter, no one likes to drink it.  When I drink it, it gives me a stomach ache."

Some in the neighborhood drink river water treated with purification tablets, but there have been questions about their effectiveness. Pierre Leroi said his mother died after drinking river water treated with tablets. "We took my mother to the hospital, but they did not know what she had and released her. She died a day later."

Leroi is the eldest of eight children. His father is no longer with the family. Now, he must provide for his younger brothers and sisters.

"There are no jobs here and we have no money," said Leroi. "We don't have much food, and sometimes we go without."

The medical organization Doctors Without Borders has set up a cholera clinic at the hospital in Saint Marc to assist local doctors, one of 21 facilities around the country. They have brought their cholera treatment expertise to Haiti. Haitian physician Dr. August Berthin told us cholera fatalities at the hospital are now rare.

"This has been a great experience with Doctors Without Borders," said Berthin. "And every time we save a life, it makes me happy."

For the people of Villa, that is little consolation. They have already lost many family members, friends and neighbors. They now fear the river, and worry about the rainy season next year when it rises over its banks and into their homes.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

More Americas News

Massive Fire Engulfs Mexican Oil Rig, Four Dead

State-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) says there is no evidence of a major oil spill following the blast, which injured 16 workers
More

Floods Death Toll Rises in Chile, President Cancels Trips

Freak torrential downpours in Atacama desert, normally the driest in the world, destroyed homes and bridges, cut off roads, and left thousands stranded
More

Rio Residents Protest Olympic Eviction With Road Block

Cars gridlocked for at least five kilometers in southern neighborhood of Barra de Tijuca as residents rally against demolition of favela
More

Peru's PM, Government to Resign After Censure Vote

Move delivers a blow to President Ollanta Humala, who will now have to form another new government
More

Argentine Workers Strike Over Income Tax Rate

With economy already weak, public transport stops, many businesses close and garbage piles up on one-day walkout
More

Tickets Go on Sale for 2016 Rio Olympics

More than half of the 7.5 million tickets will cost 70 Brazilian reais ($22) or less
More