LGF Haiti Installs More Clean Water Kiosks in Port-au-Prince!

LGF Haiti just installed more water kiosks here in Tabarre, Port au Prince in partnership with the American Refugee Committee and the American Red Cross. These kiosks will serve a total community of over 10,000 people. The kiosks are being powered by solar arrays, an exciting component of the implementation. The solar panels were generously donated by Schuco Solar. LGF Haiti held a training session executed by its in-country team at the Karade site  (just near the US Embassy) which concluded with an official cutting of the ribbon ceremony. New containers were then filled with beautiful, clean water. Johnson and Guilbert, of LGF Haiti, did a wonderful job of training the locals in the technical side of water purification while many others gathered outside proving that the kiosk will be a good place for the community.

Johnson imparting just a fraction of his vast knowledge.

Guilbert speaking in gauges.

The cutting of the ribbon.

Members of the LGF Haiti in-country team (left) with members of the local water committee (right)

Clean water.    Happy kids!

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Haiti: UN urges investing in water to combat cholera

11 January 2012 –
Dramatic improvements in water and sanitation services are needed to eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, health experts who took part in a United Nations-organized briefing to outline concrete steps to stem the spread of the disease in the region said today.

The event, organized by the UN World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional arm, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), urged governments and international organizations to boost investment in the infrastructure and institutional capacity required to provide water and sanitation in areas affected by the disease.

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the bacterium known as vibrio cholerae. The disease has a short incubation period and produces a toxin that causes continuous watery diarrhoea, a condition that can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death if treatment is not administered promptly. Vomiting also occurs in most patients.

Women carry jerry cans of chlorinated water which is being used to help eliminate cholera

On the eve of the second anniversary of the terrible earthquake that devastated our country, marked progress has been made toward reconstruction, but much remains to be done.

While cholera no longer poses a threat to countries with high standards of hygiene, it remains a challenge in countries with limited access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

PAHO Director Mirta Roses discussed the misconceptions surrounding the provision of water and sanitation, mainly that it is seen as expensive, and emphasized that the costs of not investing in these services is much higher as evidenced by the thousands of people who have died in Haiti since the cholera outbreak in October 2010, ten months after it was hit by a devastating earthquake.

Ms. Roses stressed that the right to water and sanitation is an essential human right, making it crucial for governments to strive to provide these services in every sector of society.

Ms. Roses also underscored the importance of water and sanitation as a pre-requisite for sustainable development and economic growth in any country, and warned that ignoring this would leave countries “extremely vulnerable.”

“As we fight with climate change and the scarcity of water, it is even more important to be responsible but also to be equitable in the distribution of this precious resource,” Ms. Roses said, adding that partnerships are also essential to fight the disease as countries shift from cholera control to cholera elimination.

Kevin De Cock, Director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Center for Global Health, echoed Ms. Roses remarks, stressing the role of the infrastructure in preventing the spread of cholera.

He warned that even though fatality rates have decreased because of effective treatment, “there are still 100 to 200 cholera cases daily in Haiti, and we expect surges with the onset of the rainy season.”

Mr. De Cock said that for Haiti to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the global development targets with a 2015 deadline, some 250,000 households will need improved water sources, and another 938,000 will require access to improved sanitation.

The Chief of Water Sanitation for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Sanjay Wijesekera, argued that in addition to investing in infrastructure, an effective strategy that takes into account the various forms of transmissions is needed, as well as education to encourage behavioural change in communities.

Haitian President Michel Joseph Martelly joined the event via video link and reiterated his Government’s commitment to tackle the disease. “On the eve of the second anniversary of the terrible earthquake that devastated our country, marked progress has been made toward reconstruction, but much remains to be done,” he said.

“Safe drinking water and adequate sanitary facilities are the right of every Haitian. Only a joint, comprehensive strategic approach can help us eliminate cholera, which has stricken half a million Haitians and killed thousands.”

The President of the Dominican Republic Leonel Fernández stressed his Government’s willingness to collaborate with Haiti through vaccination programmes and control strategies.

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Lest we forget: Haiti group sees jump in cholera cases in the Capital

Haiti group sees jump in cholera cases in the Capital
By Trenton Daniel
Associated Press / October 10, 2011

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—The number of cholera cases seen in the Haitian capital has jumped about threefold in recent weeks, an official with a foreign aid group said Monday.

Pascale Zintzen, deputy head of mission for Doctors Without Borders, said the group’s four treatment centers in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area have handled as many as 850 cases in a single week lately. That compares with about 250 cases a week more than a month ago.

The rise is largely attributed to the second rainy season of the year, when showers and floods cause the waterborne disease to spread freely in the crowded and unsanitary capital, Zintzen said.

One cholera treatment center in the densely packed Port-au-Prince area of Martissaint has 90 beds for patients but is almost out of space, she said.

“We are not far from it,” Zintzen said by telephone. “We are worried about what we see at the moment.”

Despite the jump in cases, the weekly number is still far below what foreign aid groups saw in the initial peak last November after the disease surfaced a year ago.

Health care workers for Doctors Without Borders treated as many 4,600 patients in one week at its treatment centers in the Port-au-Prince area and about half that number in late May, when the year’s first rainy season kicked in.

There had never been any documented cases of cholera in Haiti until a year ago, when a U.N. peacekeeping battalion from Nepal likely introduced the disease.

Cholera is caused by a bacteria that produces severe diarrhea and is contracted by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. The disease is relatively easy to treat if people can get help in time, but Haiti’s poverty sometimes makes it difficult to find immediate help.

The epidemic has killed more than 6,200 people and sickened nearly 440,000 others, according to Haitian health officials.

Source: http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2011/10/10/haiti_group_sees_jump_in_cholera_cases_in_capital/

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Potable Water makes La Difference

La Difference Family that lives directly in front of water kiosk

On Sunday the 12th of June, 2011, LGF Haiti joined partners IOM and Green Venues to celebrate the official launch of Haiti’s first joint clean water and recycling initiative in Cite Soleil’s breathtaking community, La Difference.

Self-motivated to create a clean and engaged neighborhood in one of Haiti’s most challenging slums, La Difference celebrated by hosting an afternoon series of spectacular theatrical, musical and dance performances.

Celebratory performance by local dancers

These inspiring young artists channeled a message to promote recycling, cleanliness and water education, and encouraged neighboring communities to do the same.

The ceremony closed with the ribbon cutting of La Difference’s privately-owned potable water kiosk, installed by LGF Haiti.

La Difference Private Potable Water Kiosk, owned and managed by Francois.

And, as members of the community, supporters and friends raised a glass of cold water together, LGF Haiti could not have been more proud to a part of this beautiful initiative.

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LGF is part of making history at the Digicel Marché en Fer site

Much has been planned for the rebuilding of Haiti after the January 12, 2010 earthquake that devastated the nation. Yet few projects have been so ambitious and so visible as the rebuilding of the Marché en Fer in downtown Port-au-Prince and LifeGivingForce was fortunate enough to play an important role.

Haiti Iron Market - Before reconstruction

Designed in Paris in the 1880s, the Iron Market was originally erected in 1890 during a highpoint in Haiti’s economic history by President Florvil Hyppolite and stood as a symbol of Haitian progress until 2008 when it was partially damaged by fire. During the earthquake of 2010, the remaining structure suffered massive damage, dealing a death blow to 120 years of Haitian history.

Over the last eleven months, the Digicel Group, a Caribbean-based mobile phone company operating in Haiti, has been working to restore the Marché en Fer to its original grandeur. The rebuilding project has been funded and spearheaded by Digicel’s Chairman, Denis O’Brien in a personal capacity and is valued at US$12 million. While the project has remained true to the style of the original edifice, pains have been taken to ensure that the structure is built to international safety standards and equipped with all the needs of a 21st century market. This includes numerous ceiling fans to cool down vendors and patrons, electricity for appliances, and concrete stalls with latticed partitions to hang wares.

Haiti Iron Market - After reconstruction

Perhaps most importantly, LifeGivingForce has teamed with Digicel to provide potable water of the highest standard for the entire market. The system installed can produce up to 20,000 liters of water per day and will be delivered to 14 different access points making clean drinking water accessible to all. Power for the pumps, and for all electricity needs of the market place, will come from a solar array of 533 solar panels producing 108KW of electricity, making it the largest solar array in the Caribbean.

Clean drinking water at Marche en Fer - supplied by LGF

The opening ceremony for the Marché en Fer was held on January 11, 2011. Team LGF were lucky enough to be amongst the attendees at the inauguration where Digicel Chairman, Denis O’Brien, the former US President Bill Clinton and the Mayor of Port-au-Prince, Muscadin Jean-Yves Jason, jointly cut the ceremonial ribbon. It is estimated that over 900 vendors will operate from the new building selling arts and crafts, fruit and vegetables, dry produce and beauty products – many of these had stands in the Iron Market for years prior to last year’s earthquake which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Port-Au-Prince. LifeGivingForce is proud to be a part of this project as it represents a firm commitment to the rebuilding of Haiti and an opportunity for the citizens of downtown Port-au-Prince to gain access to safe, clean drinking water in a place where they live and work. It’s the first major project to come to completion since the earthquake, so many see it as a symbol of the start of reconstruction in Haiti and a beacon of hope. For us, and for all Haitians, we hope this is a harbinger of things to come.

Digicel Marche en Fer inauguration - Team LGF

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LGF water technology-changing lives in Haiti

What’s the difference between clean water and unclean water? Well, add to that question the fact that someone will be drinking it and you get an unexpected answer: it’s quality of life.

In order to begin to understand what this really means, lets consider two measures used to determine a population’s health liabilities, Years of Life Lost (YLL) and Years Lived with Disability (YLD). These measures are based against something that many in the developed world take for granted: a long, healthy life expectancy.

In many parts of the world however, the difference between how long and healthy a person could live and how long and healthy they do live is staggering, and much of this is due to the absence of a simple resource. Clean water.

Girl carrying water. Port au Prince, Haiti. May 2010

And, as it often is, the young, the immunocompromised and the poor are the one’s most at risk. In sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, seemingly simple conditions like diarrhoea, borne from by rotavisruses, bacteria, and parasites in water, alone kills more young children in the developing world than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.

The accumulated disability of those who do not die from their disease is equally staggering. Unicef estimates that 443 million school days are lost each year to water-related diseases, and it requires no stretch of the imagination to understand the impact this has on childrens’ education and their future earning potential.

It becomes clear that any approach to assisting the developing world, whether it be primarily ethical, economical, or politically driven, must put the provision of clean water in the central spot. It is the most highly leveraged investment, for any of these concerns,  that can be made in any community that lacks access to it.

Think of this, in many rural and urban areas of the developing world, point-of-use (POU) water-quality interventions can reduce diarrhoea morbidity by more than 40%. It is the single most effective preventative measure, and adds millions of healthy, happier, productive days to the world community. Sadly, while these simple solutions await deployment, very difficult conditions are prevalent and persist in many parts of the world, including Haiti, right now.

Kids with new water bottles. St Dominique's School, Marigot

To address this real need, LGF is on the ground in Haiti, working to ensure that as many children as possible have access to clean water. So that they can attend school regularly, so they gain an education that will build the future of their communities, so that they can experience life free from disease, and so that they can live to be an adult.

We’d love to share some examples of our work that demonstrate the positive impacts of water purification at the source and the benefits it brings to the community.

For instance, the installation of an LGF Rapid Response 10,000UF unit at St Dominique’s school in Marigot. Thanks to the generous contribution from our partners, Providence Haiti, LGF had the opportunity of working with local community leader, Father Luke, who knew only too well what access to clean water would mean for his community. Our system produced the first clean water the community had had since the earthquake and now supports a school of 350 children, many of whom were too sick to attend on a daily basis due to suffering severe dysentery. Within days of our system being installed, these children were back to full health and back to school.

On the same trip in April, we had the pleasure of setting up another one of our LGF Rapid Response 10,000UF units at Cambry orphanage, Les Cayes, and to spend time with the orphans there. It was such a treat. The unit has now been in place for over 4 months and supplies the entire local community with safe, clean drinking water. Prior to the installation, the children were responsible for hauling heavy buckets full of water over a kilometer from a local pump station back to their respective shelters. This was time spent away from school, and time spent in quite heavy labor. The children can now access much cleaner water, much closer to their respective dorms. These may sound like small achievement in the overall scheme of things, but accumulatively over time it is clear that their positive impacts, and that of LGF committing to changing lives in Haiti, will be considerable. We are looking forward to seeing the matured effects.

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UN on situation in Haiti

Excerpts from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the General Assembly informal meeting on Haiti, in New York today, 3 December:

Collective Efforts in Haiti Will Be Overwhelmed without Massive, Immediate Response, Secretary-General Warns in Remarks to General Assembly

The challenges arising from the 12 Jan earthquake have been compounded by the needs arising from the passage of Hurricane Tomas, the cholera outbreak and increasing political tensions.

The epidemic has spread to all 10 departments of the country, as well as to PAP. The Ministry of Public Health reports that the number of deaths has exceeded 1,800 and the number of infections is approaching 81,000.

Clearly, it will continue to spread, unfortunately. This is a function of a particularly virulent strain of cholera, as well as underlying issues: a weak national health system, poor sanitary conditions and the lack of clean water and other basic services. The WHO and PAHO estimate that the outbreak could affect as many as 650,000 people in the next six months.

This will not be a short-term crisis. We cannot think short-term in our response. Millions of people look to us for immediate survival. At the same time, our response must be viewed within the broader context of recovery and long-term development.

Investment in basic infrastructure is critical — clean water, sanitation, health care and education, durable shelter and employment. Without it, Haiti has no sustainable future, no hope for a better future.

The people of Haiti deserve nothing less.

Full version available here: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/sgsm13294.doc.htm

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Rapid Response Required : Cholera Outbreak

haiti-cholera-patient

An outbreak of cholera has exploded in the Artibonite region of Haiti. We have received reports that as of this morning, Friday Oct 22nd, there have been more than 2000 cases of acute watery diarrhea and already 160 deaths and mounting, at the facilities in St. Marc, Petite Riviere d’Artibonite, Mirebalais and Lascahobas; the death-rate of patients since Tuesday night has spiked to around 10 percent. This extremely virulent disease has also spread to the capital Port-au-Prince. In emergency mode, and as officials were just confirming the deadly outbreak, the LifeGivingForce team was on the ground in the seaside town of St Marc, to begin providing families there with desperately needed clean, safe water to stem the tide of the disease.

In its response to the crisis, the co-ordinating body of the WASH cluster in the St Marc area, known as ACTED, requested that LGF assist in immediate efforts to bring clean drinking water to the affected area. This morning we sent our Haiti team to the region, about 45 miles north of the Port-au-Prince capital.

The news we have on the ground is that the St Marc hospital is a horror scene. According to our sources, the inside of the courtyard is lined with patients hooked up to IV drips. Children are screaming and writhing in agony, while others are motionless. The hospital is completely overwhelmed by one of the fastest killers there is: Cholera.

While representatives of all major NGOs attended the urgent WASH cluster meeting at St Marc this morning, approximately 250 local residents gathered outside angrily demanding clean water. The situation there is dire. LGF will set up an LGF mobile response water purification system capable of purifying 10,000 liters per day, providing clean drinking water to thousands of desperate villagers. Our systems rid the water of 99.999% of all known bacteria, viruses and cysts, through best-in-class UF barrier technology.

Matt Walters, Program Director for LGF in Haiti stepped out of the WASH cluster meeting to take a call from the UN MINUSTAH CVR unit in Port-au-Prince, and received more unsettling news. Cholera has spread to the capital. The UN representative requested that LGF set up a number of our units there as well to try and stem the spread of this deadly disease.

LifeGivingForce is responding quickly to this grave situation. LGF already has one of our LGF RR 1Ok units providing clean drinking water to 4,000 people per day in the Mirebalais community. We are working on getting as many of our units on the ground in the affected areas as we can in the shortest amount of time to save as many lives as possible.

Please donate and help us get more life saving units on the ground in Haiti!

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Rapid Response

When we say Rapid Response and agile deployment what do we mean, and how do we attain it? Within weeks of the earthquake hitting Haiti on Jan 12, 2010, Jamieson Slough, COO of LifeGivingForce delivered four LGF Rapid Response 10,000UF units directly to the organizations we’d determined would put them to the best use. Though it’s true Jay is a former Marine and more skilled than most of us at delivering under difficult circumstances (such as a 4.7 degree aftershock while he slept on the tarmac at PAP airport one night), his job was made a bit easier; these state-of-the-art solar-powered water purification systems, providing fresh water for 5,000 people a day, are built in suitcases on rollers.

In its case, a LGF Rapid Response 10,000CUF unit weighs just under 35 kgs, and is easily transportable by most commercial airlines. When you take into account that one of these portable, energy-independent, suitcase-sized units can produce enough clean drinking water for entire communities, and without having to draw from the electrical grid or a diesel generator, its not surprising that these units are being heralded as a “must-have” disaster relief companion.

Nothing short of an engineering marvel the compact LGF Rapid Response 10,000UF is efficient, cost effective, light weight, easy to maintain and ruggedized for long-term delivery in the toughest of conditions. It is incredibly easy to set up and can be producing premium potable water from unsafe water within minutes.

The LGF Rapid Response 10,000UF system comes with a rugged waterproof case and has an operational lifespan of 10 years in even harsh conditions. To eliminate rusting, the frame is aluminum with high density plastic parts. The electronics of the unit are “marine” grade—designed for salty, humid environments and are sealed from the elements.

LGF Rapid Response 35000UF

The higher capacity LGF Rapid Response 55000UF & units take the same engineering genius and standards for efficiency, and scales them up. The approximately 1430 kg (3000 pound) units, designed to fit a standard pallet, measure 1.83m L x 1.83m W x 1.5m H (6x6x5 feet or 200 cubic feet) and fit easily into standard international shipping containers; 4 fit into a standard size container. While the unit can be transported by truck or boat, it has been designed with lift points built on to the sturdy frame to airlift the unit by helicopter for remote or ultra-rapid response mission requirements. Once on the ground and linked with a source of non-potable water, a volunteer engineer can have the unit in operational mode in less than four hours.

These units, like the LGF Rapid Response 10,000UF also provide sustained clean water over the long-term even under severe conditions. The LGF RR 55,000UF are powder coated to reduce rust and, like the LGF Rapid Response 10,000UF, all components are marine grade and sealed against the elements.

All of the products in LGF’s Rapid Response series operate entirely from the power of the sun, producing potable drinking water which is free from bacteria, virus, cyst and pathogens, while removing arsenic, lead, mercury and other heavy metals from its source water.

LGF and its manufacturing partners are unique in having succeeded in developing, manufacturing, and producing in volume, the most efficient and cost-effective technology in this increasingly important domain.

Coupled with providing logistical rapid response delivery of this technology we are now well prepared to meet the diverse challenges of clean water crises, whether mitigating a local disaster or securing planet-wide sustainability.

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0.3 Square Meters

Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  17 August, 2010

0.3 square meters is the amount of space that each of the 1,300 inmates in the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince, Haiti have to themselves.  They can’t sleep lying down.  The lucky ones hang their legs and arms out the spaces between the bars at the side of the building as their only respite from the heat. Some have been pulled out and have even died from issues caused by long-term immobility.  Living in sweltering 100+ degree heat and humidity, they drink disgusting, untreated water pumped up from a well underneath the prison. A recent test of the water by an international NGO concluded that not only was the water unsafe to drink by WHO standards (9 traces of e. coli, coli-form numbers over 2420), but it was recommended that the water not even be used for showering as any wounds would become infected.  Not a surprise since the prison sits next to the central square of the city, where thousands of people walk, drive, live, urinate, defecate, and litter daily.

I'm thankful I'm not in there

I was invited by the Chief of the Community Violence Reduction unit of the UN mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH or Mission Nation Unies pour la Stabilization en Haiti) to assess the existing water situation and propose a way to get safe, clean drinking water to the inmates. I know these people aren’t angels, but the it’s simply inhumane. I am excited that we have a chance to change some part of this in partnership with the UN.  We have been invited to be part of the working group with the ICRC, MINUSTAH, and the prison authority to work on getting this prison reconstructed.  We are also putting in purification systems for the Jacmel prison in southeast Haiti, and we may get funding from MINUSTAH to get clean water to all 14 prisons in Haiti.

MINUSTAH is building a separate entire section of the prison for reinsertion — rehabilitation and job training for those who are about to get out.

Many who end up and stay here are petty criminals or were simply too poor to buy themselves out of prison as the rich criminals do.  The white-collar prisons have beds and each inmate has their own cell. These are the poor, miserable and forgotten.  It’s easier to sell a story about helping orphans, widows, and school children, but these people may be truly some of the most dispossessed and vulnerable in Haiti.

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