News / Americas

Red Cross: Crucial to Provide Sanitation to Haiti Earthquake Victims

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says sanitation is being neglected by aid agencies involved in reconstructing earthquake-hit Haiti. The Red Cross is urging the international community to recognize sanitation as one of the priorities in this effort.

The International Red Cross Federation calls sanitation the "neglected twin." Whenever disaster strikes, it says aid agencies include water and sanitation among the priority needs.

While clean water is quickly provided to the victims, it notes sanitation tends to be neglected despite its crucial significance.

The Federation's Under Secretary General for Program Services, Matthias Schmale, calls this counter-productive. He says the Red Cross became fully aware of the importance of sanitation while reconstructing homes for survivors of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed one-quarter of a million people.

"We learned during the tsunami response where we got involved in recovery work of a similar, if not even greater proportions, that so-called beneficiaries will reject the shelter and housing that we provide if we do not look into proper sanitation," said Schmale. "So, someone has to do this work too. It is not just about providing, it is also about ensuring human dignity."

Schmale says it is crucial to provide improved sanitation services to the two-million people affected by the Haitian quake, 1.5 million of whom remain homeless. He warns there will be many problems in the future if sanitation is not integrated into reconstruction plans.

The Red Cross has built almost 2,700 latrines in camps across the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. Each day it produces and distributes 2.4 million liters of clean water. This is enough for 280,000 people.

Despite considerable achievements, the Red Cross says at least half of the directly affected population has yet to see improvement in its sanitation and water situation.

Senior Red Cross Officer for Water, Sanitation and Emergency Health Will Carter says sanitation often can be a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

He says installing toilets is more challenging than providing clean water. It takes more time, more resources and more experts.

"We feel we have quite a few resources. We need to put these resources towards this. We have the disruption already. The earthquake has happened. So, we need to take this opportunity to go ahead and do the sanitation now not 10 years from now when everything has been rebuilt and you have to rip everything up again and you have to do the sanitation again. That would be a really bad thing to do," said Carter. "Sanitation is not only toilets, it is also waste disposal, it is also drainage, and it is also vector control."

The Red Cross Federation notes it has $1 billion at its disposal, which is enough money to do the right thing. But it says the Red Cross needs help to properly plan and install a sanitation system in Haiti.

Red Cross officials say humanitarian agencies do not have the capacity to tackle urban reconstruction issues by themselves. This must be done in conjunction with governments who have more means at their disposal.

They say the sanitation situation in Haiti was dire before the earthquake and action is needed now to build sanitation into the reconstruction plans for Haiti's future.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Raul Castro Steps Out of Brother's Shadow With US Deal

Cuban president scores diplomatic triumph, surge in support with this week's deal that ends decades of hostility with United States
More

US Report: Immigration Officials' Apprehensions Rose in 2014

Apprehensions of Mexicans fall 14 percent; those of individuals from other countries, predominantly in Central America, rise 68 percent
More

Strife, Mutual Interests Mark Cuba-US Ties

Island nation was once a vacation destination for Americans; over years, many Cubans sought refuge across the Florida Straits
More

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change
More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings
More

Cubans Imagine New, More Prosperous Life Without an Old Foe

News of the historic shift in US-Cuban relations echoed quickly through the Spanish colonial plazas of Old Havana this week
More