Another plane will be leaving from Miami in the next few days for Haiti. Needed are medical personnel, sanitation experts and water experts.
Our sanitation team is working near a main hospital, installing much needed sanitation systems in that area. Last we heard, our water team was headed to Leogane, which is almost totally destroyed, to teach people to filter their own water with a number of low tech methods. One of these is the Sodis method, using a plastic bottle and sunlight to kill pathogens; another is a sand filter, also effective at ridding water of pathogens. Solar ovens also kill pathogens. Combinations can be very effective. The major risk right now is from human waste or toxins entering the water supply.
The sanitation team is building compost toilets which separate liquid and solid human waste. The solid waste will decompose much faster when separated, and once all pathogens are eliminated, it can be used as fertilizer for fruit trees and similar food sources, which keeps the system as a closed loop and eliminates the waste stream. Urine can be used immediately to fertilize plants – it is sterile, and when diluted with water, becomes an excellent source of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. By using this waste stream to grow food, we protect sensitive ecosystems and human systems from pollution and we can accelerate the growth of a future food supply. These systems can be safely built with available materials – they are low tech systems and can be fairly rapidly replicated all over the cities and camps.
We have received some generous donations which enable us to fly a number of individuals to Haiti, so please pass this on to anyone who may be interested.
Currently, Haiti needs water pumps desperately because the earthquake has broken many of them. This is a life threatening situation. A permaculture solution would be to use the existing energy (humans) to handle the situation with a bicycle or teeter totter (see saw) pump. Gaviotas in Columbia has piloted these and they are now used in Africa and many other places. A teeter totter pump could be created out of existing materials lying around…..