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

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

At Mexican Hospital, Search Continues for Blast Victims

update At least 2 people killed and dozens wounded, including 22 children, when tanker truck explodes outside building
More

HRW: Security Measures Erode Human Rights Worldwide

New Human Rights Watch report cites Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Israel and the United States among nations using security concerns to justify rights violations
More

Chilean MPs Approve Measure Allowing Civil Unions

Bill will give many legal rights afforded to married couples to about two million more Chileans - mostly unmarried heterosexuals but also gay couples
More

Don't Meddle in Our Politics, Cuba's Leader Warns US

Fomenting opposition to Cuba's government will undermine efforts at normalizing bilateral relations, he says at summit in Costa Rica
More

Owner of Gun That Killed Argentine Prosecutor Emerges From Hiding

Diego Lagomarsino says he lent firearm for protection to Alberto Nisman, who was probing 1994 bombing of Buenos Aires Jewish community center
More

Rights Group: MPs in Dozens of Countries Face Abuse

Inter-Parliamentary Union rights committee reports more than 300 lawmakers in 40 countries subject to dangers, including death
More