Haitians struggle to get clean water weeks after hurricane

COTEAUX, Haiti (AP) — It’s been nearly a month since Hurricane Matthew tore through southern Haiti and people like Kettley Rosier and many of her neighbors still have to spend their meager savings for water to drink.

Wells and piped networks that people depend on for clean water across the country’s southern peninsula were contaminated or damaged by a combination of ocean storm surge and sewage from the overflowing latrines that are commonly used in rural Haiti. Tainted well water and rivers throughout the region also carry cholera bacteria, which epidemiologists suspect has sickened thousands of people since the Category 4 hurricane.

That means there is just not enough clean water to drink, let alone bathe, in places like the town of Coteaux, adding to the misery.

“We’re tired of this,” Rosier said on a recent morning, scratching at skin irritated after bathing in suspect well water. For drinking water, she has to buy small bags from street vendors.

An army of relief teams have put enormous work into cleaning contaminated wells, distributing millions of water-purifying tablets and installing water treatment stations in areas that bore the worst of the hurricane.