British Red Cross Report Says Aid Organizations Cannot Provide Sanitation Services In Haiti Indefinitely

“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 Wednesday,” according to the Associated Press/Taiwan News, which adds that the report notes that even before the January earthquake, sanitation in Haiti “was already among the worst in the world” and just “17 percent of the population had access to a toilet, a situation comparable to parts of Somalia,” the news service writes (Hui, 7/8).

According to a British Red Cross press release, the report examines “potential longer term solutions that could help stimulate Haiti’s economy as well as address the challenges of waste management and sanitation. For example research into the viability of large-scale waste composting and biogas production could provide dual benefits such as energy production, or boosting agricultural activity.”

“Six months on [from the quake], the Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies continue to provide a large proportion of water and sanitation services on behalf of the Haitian authorities,” said Alastair Burnett, British Red Cross disaster recovery manager. “However sanitation is a much broader urban reconstruction issue that falls outside the capacity and remit of humanitarian agencies. We are all stretched to our capacity and are simply containing a critical situation, rather than solving it,” Burnett said, adding that sanitation needs to be integrated into rebuilding plans (7/8).

Caricom Asks U.N. To Help Coordinate NGOs In Haiti

The French-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) is “appealing to the United Nations to help bring about some ‘level of order’ among the hundreds of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that they fear could undermine the fragile democracy in Haiti,” Inter Press Service reports.

After “Caricom leaders, including Haitian President Rene Preval, met on Monday … with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,” Roosevelt Skerrit, the prime minister of Dominica and the outgoing Caricom chair, said they had asked for U.N. assistance, IPS writes. The presence of the NGOs was one of the issues discussed during a “very prolonged” meeting with Ban, Skerrit said. The NGOs are “basically doing what they want. There is no regard to the wishes of the government of Haiti,” Skerrit said, adding: “We are saying if you do not put an end to it now, bring some semblance of order to it, the tremendous strides which we have made in Haiti with regards to building the democratic institutions would be undermined, particularly taking into consideration that we must hold elections by February 2011,” he said. 

Preval said, “It’s like several Hiroshima bombs hit Haiti.” He continued, “It is necessary to rebuild Haiti, to refine Haiti and also to decentralise the country. This should be done thanks to the interim commission that has been set up and also the promise of 10 billion dollars made which we hope will be disbursed very quickly” (Richards, 7/7).

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