Following the destruction and torrential flooding in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew, a Rutland-based nonprofit is ramping up its efforts there to provide clean water.
Only about 25 percent of people in Haiti have access to toilets and clean water. After the earthquake of 2010, water-born illnesses such as cholera killed more than 9,000 people there.
That’s why Rutland-based Pure Water For the World, a nonprofit that’s been operating in Haiti since 2007, is working to expand its efforts to get water filters and training to those most in need on the island.
“The first thing [I thought] when I heard about it, was, ‘Oh God, not again," says Carolyn Mueb, the group’s executive director. "These people have suffered so much."
Then, says Mueb, “I worried, is the staff safe?"
Then: "How can we mobilize to help the people in Haiti as we did after the earthquake?”
Hurricane Matthew has reportedly contributed to 11 deaths, five in Haiti. Mueb says her staff of 22 on the island are all OK, although she heard one of her employees has lost his home.
“We’re trying to figure out how to help him through all of this,” she says.
She says it’s difficult to assess just how much damage there is, because communication across the island is limited to begin with, and now is much worse.
Pure Water for the World was created by The Rotary Club of Brattleboro in the mid 1990s as a volunteer effort to bring clean water to central America. Mueb says as it grew, it became too much for volunteers and became a self-standing nonprofit in 1999.
Mueb, a Rotarian herself, became executive director in 2003. The organization now has staff working in both Haiti and Honduras.