The American Red Cross has announced that over the next four to six months its global network will provide millions of dollars in support to the Haitian Red Cross to help Haiti's water and sanitation agency increase its capacity to deliver water to communities still recovering from last year's earthquake.
As part of its relief and recovery efforts in Haiti, the Red Cross network has been trucking clean drinking water to tent camps set up in the aftermath of the quake. Led by the Haitian Red Cross, the initiative currently is providing water to about 100,000 people a day, down from 300,000 at its peak. Over the next few months, the Haitian Red Cross will provide technical, material, and financial support, including fifteen water trucks and three de-sludging trucks, to the Direction Nationale de l'Eau Potable et de l'Assainissement and will also work with DINEPA to build community-managed water kiosks in neighborhoods currently not connected to a piped-water supply.
After polling the local population as well as Haitian companies in the water business, many of which said the free water distribution was cutting into their revenues, the Red Cross determined that a gradual transition of water services to local authorities and private vendors would be a useful way to support economic recovery in the impoverished country.
In total, the American Red Cross has spent or pledged more than $45 million in Haiti for water and sanitation projects, including more than $15 million to its partner organizations. "I am proud of the role the Red Cross has played in providing free, safe, drinking water during the extended emergency phase, particularly following the cholera outbreak," said Ricardo Caivano, head of the American Red Cross delegation in Haiti. "But we have always been aware of the need to transition these services to the authorities, to communities, to water committees, and to private vendors. We are delighted to be transitioning these services back to these groups, recognizing their knowledge and experience makes them best placed to serve the needs of the Haitian population."