Engineering disaster relief charify RedR has held a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Week to provide vital training to local aid workers in Haiti.
WASH Week, which ran from 3 to 7 May, developed core skills and encouraged Haitians to help the ongoing humanitarian response to the recent earthquake. It was funded by a £30,000 donation from Thames Water.
The courses covered waterborne diseases and vector control, water sources and treatment, excreta disposal, sanitation and solid waste management.
“I’m pleased that we have started this essential programme to pass on the latest thinking in how to solve Haiti’s WASH need,” said RedR interim country director for the programme in Haiti, Robert Hodgson.
RedR has teamed up with French humanitarian training school, Bioforce, to create the Disaster Response Support Services to deliver the training in Haiti.
A fundamental part of the training programme was to build local capacity to respond to the crisis, ensuring that essential technical skills and knowledge of humanitarian practice are developed locally.
“I’m pleased that we have started this programme to pass on the latest thinking”
One participant Magdala Jean Babtiste, a Haitian teacher currently working for Save the Children as an Education Coordinator, took part in RedR’s hygiene promotion training.
“I’ve replicated what I learnt to our community mobilisation teams who then in turn have run hygiene education in schools.
In total 1,228 people have undergone the training. They will each teach 30 people in their community about the importance of good hygiene practices.
Training took place in Port-au- Prince where over 1M people are homeless and still living in temporary settlements, a situation Hodgson called “grim”. “Little of the rubble has been cleared; there is still a vast amount of clearing up to do,” he said.
Due to the severity and protracted nature of the disaster, RedR is preparing a long-term mission in Haiti.
Latest estimates put the death toll as high as 200,000, while 20,000 commercial buildings and 225,000 residential buildings are believed to have been destroyed.
While traditional timber buildings survived, poorly made concrete structures failed to withstand the 7 magnitude quake.
“Next, the team will start similar programmes to encourage earthquake-resistant building designs and methods,” said Hodgson RedR’s overall programme in Haiti has been possible thanks to £200,000 worth of donations.