Port-Au-Prince, One of the Largest Cities in the World without a Sewage System
In the fall of 2010, months after the devastating earthquake, when cholera first entered Haiti (first time over a century), most likely by the United Nations peacekeeping troops from Nepal, the disease became endemic-- more than a half-million people got sick and at least 7,050 died. The only way to prevent the cholera endemic is to build a network of pipes and waste treatment plants to prevent the infection of food and water supplies.
Sadly, most of the 3 million people living in the metropolitan area use outhouses that dump waste into canals and ditches or other dumping grounds with risk of contaminating drinking water and spreading disease. After the earthquake of 2010 and Hurricane Matthew, the three waste treatment sites that now exist, only 1% of human waste is effectively treated. The cumulative sewage of 3 million people flows through open ditches. Haiti has the highest incidence rate of childhood mortality due to diarrheal disease in the world.
For most Haitians 'toilet' is synonymous to an open field or wading into a public canal at dawn. Those who can afford, dig cesspools under outhouses. When the cesspools get full, it's time to call a 'bayakou', a manual laborer who empties the cesspools that collect deep bogs of human waste under Haiti's backyard latrines. Thus, human excrement is largely removed by hand by workers (bayakou) who toil at night under cover of darkness.
Domestic funding is never enough in Haiti to cover the costs associated with an effective sewage system. International organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are making efforts to help Haiti. An international effort named 'Morne a Cabrit' intended to develop sewage treatment plants all over the country; they opened their first facility about an hour away from Port-Au-Prince in 2012. However, the successive plans to build other plants never passed their initial stages. Without outside help, the country has little chance of remedying the current sanitation situation. The present administration needs to be significantly more focus on raising money and awareness for the Haiti sewage system.
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