Haitians still lack water and sanitation, says Red Cross

2010-07-08 09:33

Aid agencies providing sanitation and water services in Haiti are

stretched to their capacities and cannot help indefinitely, the British Red

Cross said in a report yesterday.

It called for more international support for the Haitian


The London-based humanitarian organisation said that six months

after the devastating quake in January, many Haitians still have no access to

basic sanitation and warned the agency’s resources are running out.

Alastair Burnett, an operations manager with the British Red Cross,

said: “What we’re doing can’t carry on forever. We don’t have infinite resources

to provide that. We are all stretched to our capacity and are simply containing

a critical situation, rather than solving it.”

The Red Cross and other agencies have provided most of the clean

water and toilets for the 1.2 million Haitians camping out in temporary

settlements since January.

Reconstruction has been slow because of government dysfunction and

the scale of the disaster and so far only a fraction of the billions of dollars

pledged in foreign aid has been delivered.

Sanitation in Haiti before the quake was already among the worst in

the world – only 17% of the population had access to a toilet, a situation

comparable to parts of Somalia, the Red Cross said.

Although aid agencies had managed to avoid large outbreaks of

diarrhoea or cholera in the camps after the quake, Burnett said the provision of

basic sanitation has been mixed.

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