Following the 2010 earthquake and hurricane Matthew in 2016, Haiti’s sewage problems have only been exacerbated. With only one sewage disposal plant in all of Haiti, it serves a small fraction of the population.Most citizens dispose of their excrement in outhouses or open sewers. When it rains, the sewers carry pathogens into the water supply which has attributed to the spread of cholera. As the population of the capital city increases, the sewage crisis becomes more prevalent. “Bayakou,” the men who empty the latrines into the sewer or the treatment plants, cannot control the amount of sewage produced. If TPS protections for Haitian’s are removed, 58,000 Haitians will be forced to return to Haiti, which could not only spread cholera at a more rapid rate, it also puts many lives in danger.
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To learn more about Cholera in Haiti click the link to our Cholera Page
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Haiti’s ‘Bayakou': Hauling Away Human Excrement By Hand
Rebecca Hersher, NPR
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is one of the largest cities in the world without a central sewage system. Most of the more than 3 million residents use outhouses and rely on workers with some of the worst jobs in the world, hauling away human excrement by hand one bucket at a time. The men are called bayakou, and they work in the dark by candlelight. Rebecca Hersher spent a night with a group of them.
REBECCA HERSHER, BYLINE: As soon as we arrive, you can smell it. It’s a heavy, earthy stench, like rotten eggs and grosser things.
An estimated 1 in 5 Haitians don’t have access to any kind of latrine. Those who do have outhouses generally hire a bayakou to clean them out. Tonight, a team of four bayakou are emptying one outhouse. One of the guys, Gabriel Toto, is sitting on the edge of the hole, his bare feet in the brown soup below, holding a big stick.
GABRIEL TOTO: Oh.
HERSHER: The stick measures about 15 feet deep. Tonight, with a foreign reporter around, Gabriel is wearing knee-length pants and gloves. Usually, he works naked.
TOTO: (Through interpreter) They don’t usually give us these gloves and things, when you’re not here.
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