In Haiti: Waiting Five Years for Running Water

IPS/Haiti Grassroots Watch recently published a two-part series on a 2006 project to bring running water to impoverished neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, which, five years later, has yet to appear. Here are excerpts of Part 1 with links to the two articles below:

Why? And why five years? Haiti Grassroots Watch (HGW) and the students at the State University’s Faculty of Human Sciences investigated.

[. . .] In 2006, the European Union gave the green light to a new water project for Debussy and Turgeau, neighbourhoods populated by about 25,000 people jammed into huts, many of them on dangerous slopes. The project’s principal elements are a new reservoir and connections to 19 new water kiosks. The project’s execution was and is overseen by three entities: the funder (the European Union), the state, and a [French] NGO [Groupe de Recherche et d’Echanges Technologiques or GRET].

According to Benoist Bazin, head of the EU’s Infrastructure Section in Haiti, the total cost of the project was about 100 million gourdes (2.5 million U.S. dollars). One-quarter, about 25 million gourdes (625,000 U.S. dollars) was spent on the new reservoir. The remaining 75 million U.S. dollars went to the rehabilitation of the water system by two private companies, and for “social accompaniment” carried out by the NGO GRET.

Maxo Saintil, a professor living in the Upper Turgeau area, was among those who, over five years ago, asked the government to put in a water system in order to alleviate people’s misery. “The completion of the project will be a victory for us, the initiators, and it will benefit the population who will benefit from its service,” he told HGW.  But between the project’s approval and the beginning of work, three years went by. “The project only started in January 2009,” Saintil remembered.

35 months later, the project is still incomplete, for many reasons. Examining them shows not only why the project remains unfinished, but also how so-called development aid sometimes works in Haiti.

[Many thanks to Rod Fusco for bringing this item to our attention.]

For Part 1, see

For Part 2, see

One thought on “In Haiti: Waiting Five Years for Running Water

  1. As a former New Orleanian, I am distressed by this but unfortunately not surprised. There still are FEMA trailers and no grocery stores or schools in the Lakefront (one of the more affluent sections) area, and worse in other neighborhoods.

    Haiti’s poverty is staggering and much of it due to the U.S.

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