Haiti – Social : 42% of the Haitian population has no access to drinking water
published on March 22, 2016
As part of World Water Day, celebrated this Tuesday, March 22, the UN in Haiti reiterate their support for the country in its efforts to improve access of the population to safe drinking water and sanitation and alert to the fact that 42% of the Haitian population still lacks access to safe drinking water.
Regarding sanitation, the UN welcomes the increase of 18% to 28% of percentage of population with access to improved sanitation between 1990 and 2015. However, still 7.6 million Haitians lack essential facilities for good health and the prevention of waterborne diseases. According to recent studies by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in Haiti, the death rate in children under 5 is 88 per 1,000 children . Water scarcity and water-borne diseases are among the leading causes of death and worsening child malnutrition, causing a hindrance to their intellectual and physical development.
The United Nations Country Team and the Minustah stressed that universal access to safe water and sanitation is a critical development challenge in Haiti. This right is recognized as a fundamental right by the United Nations General Assembly since 2010 and priority in the agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this regard, the UN supports Haiti’s efforts to develop a national policy on water and sanitation and to reform the legal framework based on the rights of citizens to have access to public water services and sanitation.
Moreover, the UN said that women, girls and young children are most affected by lack of access to clean water in a context where about 56% of the population needs more than 30 minutes walk to get water, a task predominantly conducted by children and women. Women are also more vulnerable to lack of water which causes impact on reproductive health and maternity.
Finally note that safe access to water is limited to 35% of the population living in urban areas (1.7 million of the 5 million people living in urban areas) and the risk of waterborne diseases remains high because of the population concentration. Access to clean water is even more limited in rural areas (48%) and also among the most vulnerable, including displaced people living in extreme poverty and those affected by the migration issue with the Dominican Republic.