Norweco workers in Norwalk build chlorinators and people in Haiti avoid illness.International Action, a non-profit group based in Washington, D.C., has brought clean water to more than 400,000 poor Haitians with the help of equipment from Norweco."They gave a very, very cheap price for the chlorinators. The price they charge us is peanuts," said Abdul Kanu, spokesman for International Action. He said the foundation only operates in Haiti now, but would like to expand to Africa to bring clean water to more people.Don Bach, director of sales for Norweco, said the company adapted equipment to treat drinking water after learning of the extreme need of people in poor countries."It took 15 years to put it together," he said. "With the guidance of International Action, we adapted the piping and the way we use them for drinking water."Bach said when Norweco officials learned that many children under the age of 12 die from water-born diseases in some countries, they decided they could help solve the problem. "Our major business is wastewater treatment equipment supply and we adapted some of our equipment for drinking water," he said.
Bach said the staff at International Action deserves full credit for the progress of the clean water program."They are wonderful people," Bach said, adding other charitable organizations have put in state-of-the-art equipment into communities, but never bothered to keep programs going."International Action trains local people," he said. "They figured out the formula of making it happen. International Center decided you have to have community buy-in for the project. If you don't have that, it fails."Norweco's chlorinator is now used in about 20 countries and Bach said it is also used in remote areas of the United States such as in government parks.Haiti has a high infant and mortality rate and a big part of the problem is unsafe water. International Action and Dlo Pwp, a Haitian organization, joined forces to install 100 chlorinators in 23 of the poorest neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince. Now about 400,000 residents are getting clean, safe water for the first time."The largest killer of children in all developing countries is waterborne disease such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and chronic diarrhea. These diseases lead to the premature and avoidable deaths of 2.6 million children each year," said Lindsay Mattison, director of International Action. "For $265, we can install a water chlorinator that lasts a generation. It will provide up to 10,000 people with clean, safe drinking water. Chlorine is becoming a major force for public health in Haiti."In Jalousie, situated in the hills above Port-au-Prince, a new chlorinator protects 50,000 people. A nurse in the area reported a major drop in chronic diarrhea cases. A municipal laboratory found that typhoid and cholera germs are no longer present in Jalousie's water. People from nearby neighborhoods are crossing into Jalousie to carry safe water to their homes.Pierre Joab, president of the local water board in Simmond Pel, said the chlorinators make a big difference. "Since International Action installed chlorinators, the rate of diarrhea and sickness of children dropped dramatically. Kids are not getting sick any more. We learned we can prevent such diseases. We'd like to keep it this way," he said.Abdul Kanu, spokesman for International Action, said his group is now working on plans to install water tanks in addition to chlorinators."The unique thing about our project is the chlorine lasts in the water for days," he said, and treated water will even overcome bacteria in containers used to carry the water. More information on International Action's water projects is available atwww.haitiwater.org.