(Part 1 in a series about the water crisis in Haiti)
First the background, and the issue…
Haiti is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and one of the poorest in the western hemisphere. Increased urbanization in recent years, shifting populations from more rural areas to major cities, like Port-au-Prince, has strained the natural resources essential for sustained life. An inadequate and unsafe potable water supply, in part due to the lack of public wastewater treatment and sanitation systems, is a key issue for the people of Haiti.
In Port-au-Prince, the domestic water supply system is capable of serving less than half of the population. The system’s water sources include mountain springs and water wells, and this system doesn’t utilize the more-heavily contaminated surface water sources.
There is currently no public collection and treatment system for wastewater in the country, leading to widespread pollution of the water resources. The primary contributors to the pollution include domestic wastes along with agricultural runoff.
Haiti has drawn recent attention due to the unfortunate, catastrophic earthquake that centered near Port-au-Prince. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) says the aftershock sequence of the magnitude-7 earthquake that struck Haiti, on Jan. 12, 2010, will continue for months, if not years. The frequency of the aftershock events will diminish with time, but damaging earthquakes will remain a threat.
In the wake of the recent earthquake in Haiti, the most critical resources for the survival of these people include safe drinking water, along with food and medical treatment.
Have you identified any good causes to help the people of Haiti address their needs since the earthquake?
My other work is in water resources development. You can read more about that here!