Fighting Cholera and Dirty Water in Earthquake-Ravaged Haiti

VIDEO: ABC News David Muir and Matt Gutman revisit the devastated country.
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On Saturday, former carnival singer Michel Martelly takes over the presidency of Haiti as that country continues to struggle with water-borne diseases like cholera following the catastrophic earthquake that hit the country in 2010.

Five thousand people have died in Haiti from cholera since the outbreak began in October 2010, according to United Nations officials.

Water for Life

World Water Relief, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, is a small group of dedicated humanitarians trying to fix the problem of dirty water in Haiti by installing clean water systems, but even more effectively by teaching kids how to wash their hands. So far, World Water Relief's cholera prevention program has taught basic hygiene classes in 100 schools and has reached 30,000 students in Haiti.

"To rebuild this country, we need water," Albert Juin, a Haitian youth coordinator for World Water Relief, told David Bruckner, who made a documentary about World Water Relief's work in Haiti in October 2010.

"We need purified water," Juin said. "We need to educate kids about this water is bad, this water is good."

Although millions of dollars were donated in the terrifying aftermath of the earthquake, the country has still not significantly recovered.

"It doesn't look like it did after the earthquake, but the tent cities are all still there," Mo Baptiste, a World Water Relief board member and associate professor at Ithaca College, told ABC News. "Has there been debris removed? Yes. Is there a whole lot more to be removed? Yes."

"When I started going to down to the [region] doing medical mission work, I quickly realized that you can treat all these problems with medicine, but the real problem is that people don't have access to clean water," Dr. Kevin Fussell, vice chairman of the board for World Water Relief and a practicing pulmonary critical care physician, told ABC News.

Fussell left for Haiti three days after the earthquake that struck on Jan. 12, 2010.

Globally, more than 3.5 million people die each year from waterborne illnesses like cholera, according to World Water Relief. More than 80 percent of those who die from those diseases are children.

A deadly outbreak of cholera struck Haiti in October 2010, stemming from the unsanitary conditions that continue to plague Haitians.

"We were in Haiti [in fall 2010] when the cholera epidemic broke out, so it was really important to teach kids really basic hygiene," Tim Douglas, an education coordinator for World Water Relief, told ABC News. That involved teaching "when to wash your hands, how to wash your food, use a latrine, clean the latrine -- really basic stuff. But you realize it's difficult to do there, because you want to wash your hands but there's no clean water."

World Water Relief buys water filtration systems from a company called PURAUV, which sells ultraviolet water filtration systems. It installs large, 300-gallon tanks so that even if electricity cuts out, the purified water will flow out through the force of gravity.

"That was the easy part. It took a month and a half to get three schools done, which is pretty quick," Douglas told ABC News. "From there, we had to go about doing our education. ... We had to find a way to reach the students."

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