Letter from Port-au-Prince

A moving and informative letter from Haiti describing daily conditions in the wake of the earthquake and the dragging, ineffective, heavily armed recovery efforts reminiscent of hurricane Katrina. Conditions wrought by the persistent denial of even the most basic services and infrastructure for the Haitian people.

The Sanitation Crisis in Port-au-Prince


For centuries Port au Prince’s human wastes have been dumped into the ocean, rivers and fields without treatment. Before there was no question of where our wastes were going, and now the halls of DINEPA (the government direction of portable water and sanitation) are flooded with representatives of all of the world’s big organizations, everyone clamoring to get a handle on the sanitation crisis that has been unveiled by the earthquake.

Prior to the earthquake Haiti had by far the lowest sanitation coverage in the hemisphere and heavy child mortality due to water borne disease. In a city of more than 2 million people, hundreds of thousands never had access to a toilet and were forced to go to the bathroom in plastic bags or in nearby ravines.


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