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Humanitarian relief organization launches fresh water initiative in Haiti

Photo Credit: Malteser International AmericasArticle By Jill Watson

Malteser International Americas, a Miami-based global humanitarian organization, has launched a fresh water program in the south west of Haiti where the worst drought in 35 years has put those already experiencing profound poverty and extreme vulnerability in further jeopardy.

"Malteser International Americas is improving the lives of more than 31,000 Haitians in Belle-Anse by connecting those suffering from drought with drinkable water, bettering their nutrition, and building their local capacities in the key areas of water, sanitation and hygiene, and the environment," said Ravi Tripptrap, Executive Director of Malteser International Americas.

The drought – complicated by the tumultuous environmental effects of El Niño– has been detrimental to the livelihood of local Haitians who have suffered severe agricultural losses over the past few years due to lack of rainfall and prolonged drought.

Lack of water and the drought-stricken land, nearly incapable of yielding crops, have left over 1.5 million Haitians severely food insecure and without water to drink and to irrigate crops.

In response, Malteser International Americas launched the fresh water program to create a lifeline to thirsty mouths and to dying crops across Belle-Anse with an earthquake-resistant aqueduct and irrigation system.

The goals of Malteser's fresh water program for Haiti include:

  • Strengthening local resilience to natural disasters and socioeconomic downturns by providing stable access to drinking water, and food;
  • Improving the quality of nutrition by creating local partnerships and promoting the sustainable use of water, good hygiene practices, and sanitation; and
  • Encouraging the sustainable use of natural resources (water, soil, forest)

To survive, many locals have turned to cutting down trees to use as charcoal for cooking. Selling this wood has become their primary means of making a living, but long-term environmental costs of deforestation are nearly irreparable.

In response, Malteser's new program will also focus on promoting alternatives to the sale and use of charcoal.


Malteser International Americas has been working in Haiti since the earthquake in 2010. Following initial emergency relief and support with rebuilding efforts, Malteser's programs have concentrated on building up the structural capacity in the areas of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), disaster preparedness, and food security. Malteser works closely with local partners in the urban slum areas of Cité Soleil and Tabarre, as well as the rural region of Belle-Anse.

Visit the organization online HERE.

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