Effective Use of Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage in Response to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake

Daniele Lantagne Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts; Department of Disease Control, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom

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Thomas Clasen Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts; Department of Disease Control, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom

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When water supplies are compromised during an emergency, responders often recommend household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS) methods, such as boiling or chlorination. We evaluated the near- and longer-term impact of chlorine and filter products distributed shortly after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. HWTS products were deemed as effective to use if they actually improved unsafe household drinking water to internationally accepted microbiological water quality standards. The acute emergency survey (442 households) was conducted within 8 weeks of emergency onset; the recovery survey (218 households) was conducted 10 months after onset. Effective use varied by HWTS product (from 8% to 63% of recipients in the acute phase and from 0% to 46% of recipients in the recovery phase). Higher rates of effective use were associated with programs that were underway in Haiti before the emergency, had a plan at initial distribution for program continuation, and distributed products with community health worker support and a safe storage container.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Daniele Lantagne, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, 200 College Avenue, Room 207A, Medford, MA 02155. E-mail: daniele.lantagne@tufts.edu

Financial support: This work was financially supported by UNICEF, Oxfam Great Britain, and Oxfam America.

Authors' addresses: Daniele Lantagne, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA, E-mail: daniele.lantagne@tufts.edu. Thomas Clasen, Environmental Hygiene Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom, E-mail: thomas.clasen@lshtm.ac.uk.

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