HAITI CARE distributes hygiene kits to storm survivors

PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI (October 8, 2008) – In response to grave sanitary conditions in flood-affected regions of Haiti, CARE is distributing hygiene kits to 1,500 families, or about 7,500 people, in the greater Gonaïves region. These kits contain personal hygiene items (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, detergent), as well as chlorine tablets to disinfect water. CARE continues to seek further funding to expand the distributions.

The floods, caused by several tropical storms, hit the town of Gonaïves particularly hard, badly damaging access to drinking water and hygiene of affected populations. The majority of municipal and community drinking water sources were destroyed or damaged; most latrines were carried away by water or overflowed.

A large proportion of residents had to find refuge in temporary shelters or with families, living in close quarters and under poor hygiene conditions.

CARE Haiti Country Director Sophie Perez explains the dangers of the situation: “Inhabitants are often confined in a muddy environment; their mobility is restricted and they’re forced to obtain water nearby, from contaminated wells and even from gutters. They use this water for washing, personal hygiene, drinking and cooking. Thus survivors are very much at risk of water-borne diseases and other types of infections.”

For these reasons, it’s urgent to provide people with water purification tablets so that they can disinfect the water they get. The distributions will be made in a gradual way in order to make sure that the tablets are properly used by the recipients and not wasted or resold on the local market.

In addition to working in coordination with NGOs, CARE will involve local community organizations in order to target the most vulnerable people (children, pregnant women, single mothers, handicapped people and people affected by HIV/AIDS). During distributions, CARE will also carry out training workshops on good hygiene practices.

This operation, worth €40,000 (US$54,000), is financed with funds from Sanofi-Aventis, CARE France (Région Bretagne) and CARE Deutschland. It is part of CARE’s larger program of response to hygiene and basic health needs of storm survivors in Haiti.

Read more about CARE's response to the flood in the greater Gonaïves region.

About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is one of the world’s largest humanitarian aid agencies. In nearly 70 countries, CARE works with the poorest communities to improve basic health and education, enhance rural livelihoods and food security, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity, and provide lifesaving assistance after disasters. CARE has been working in Haiti since 1954, providing projects in HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, maternal and child health, education, food security, and water and sanitation.