Haiti is the poorest nation in the Americas and has been devastated by decades of political instability, environmental degradation, poverty and natural disasters.
The severe political instability in the 1990s and early 2000s has been somewhat improved by the presence of UN peacekeeping forces but violence between gangs and rival political groups is still rife and has served to create a human rights situation in the country that is described by the UN as “catastrophic”.
There are severe discrepancies between the wealthy and poor in Haiti, with just 1% of the richest owning more than 50% of the land and resources. Add to this infrastructure collapse, corruption and major mismanagement of natural resources and the plight of the poor in Haiti almost seems hopeless.
It is within this context that the magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck in 2010, killing tens of thousands and decimating massive areas of the capital city, Port-au-Prince. Ten months later, while the population were still reeling from the after effects of this massive earthquake, a severe outbreak of cholera struck. Over 6,000 people have died from the deadly outbreak so far and thousands more have needed to be hospitalised for treatment.
The UN published a report in January 2012 outlining the absolute and immediate urgency of investment in water and sanitation infrastructure to help eliminate the cholera epidemic and curb the mounting death toll. This report also emphasised the importance of water and sanitation as a pre-requisite for sustainable development and economic growth in Haiti.
In response to these twin disasters, Just a Drop launched a special appeal to raise funds to help rebuild Haiti’s water and sanitation infrastructure. Click on the project links to read about how this work is helping restore hope to this battered little Caribbean nation.