The International Development Association (IDA) recently donated $50 million to improve sanitation and provide clean water in the small towns and rural regions affected by cholera in Haiti.
The grant, which was recently approved by the board of directors of the World Bank, is part of the Sustainable Rural and Small Towns Water and Sanitation project that seeks to prevent cholera deaths and waterborne diseases by enabling local agencies to have water deliveries and sanitation services.
“We hear a lot in Haiti that ‘Water is life,’” Benito Dumay, director general of the National Water and Sanitation Directorate, said. “With this project we have an opportunity to make this a reality for hundreds of thousands of Haitians. This project supports the Government’s 10-year Cholera Elimination Plan and aims to prevent thousands more Haitian children from dying from waterborne diseases.”
The cholera epidemic started in 2010. Since that time, significant improvements have been made. In 2011, more than 30,000 cholera cases were reported each month; in 2014, just 2,200 cases were reported each month. Unfortunately, heavy rains have increased this rate in 2015.
“Despite much progress in Haiti’s fight on cholera, too many people are still getting sick, mainly because they don’t have access to clean water and sanitation systems,” World Bank special envoy Mary Barton-Dock said. “This is even more vital in rural areas where less than one in two Haitians have access to safe drinking water and only 16 percent have access to improved sanitation. By improving water and sanitation coverage in these targeted areas, we are not only saving lives, but also helping reduce poverty and improve livelihood opportunities of these communities.”