ST. PETERSBURG -- Hurricane Matthew is long gone but it's impact will be felt in Haiti for years. The storm took thousands of lives. Survivors now fear cholera. The U.N. says 750,000 people are in need of life-saving assistance.
A local church group is filtering help using a water filter -- made using the same technology as used in Kidney dialysi; which can save lives.
It's been five weeks since Hurricane Matthew hit and the need in Haiti’s southwest peninsula is just as great. Darryl Brown with New Hope Coalition visited earlier this month.
“Hundreds of people are on the side of the road. Their homes in the hills are destroyed [and there is] nothing left -- gardens are gone, animals are gone...” says Brown.
Brown says he lived in Haiti from the age of 5 until he left for college at 19.
Brown says, “These are some of the most caring, loving people I know. I want to help… they need so much.”
He’s found help in a water filter by a company called Sawyer. Brown says it’s been successfully used in Africa. The filter retails for $50 but through donations they can buy it for $20.
“It takes the protozoa, diarrheal, E. coli and cholera. If you eliminate 75% of the nastiness in the water this is it,” explained Brown. He adds it gives them a fighting chance and “hope.”
Brown has delivered 471 filters to Haiti. The group’s goal is to give 175,000 filters; 1 for every 10 people. The group has started a GoFundMe account to raise more than 3 million dollars to cover the cost.
Brown says, “It can screw on top of a water bottle and be used as a personal filter. It weighs half a pound, can be installed on a 5-gallon or 55-gallon drum.”
Brown says the filters last 10 years and are easy to clean and don’t require additional parts except a bucket. The challenge, he says, is getting the Haitian people to accept new methods of sustainability.
Brown says, “Water filters is one way to open the door of their hearts and let them listen; maybe then they’re willing to take new steps, new change, new path in their lives.”
To ease the people’s fears and doubts, YouTube shows Brown drinking what appears to be the filtered water. Others follow, drinking it too.