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tv   Caucus New Jersey  PBS  December 23, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm EST

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hi i'm patrick dunican at gibbons we believe that citizens need to be informed about the complex issues that effect their lives. that's why we're proud to support the programming produced by the caucus educational corporation and their partners in public television. >>funding for this edition of caucus new jersey has been provided by the law firm of gibbons pc new jersey natural gas proud to support education in our communities qualcare inc a local managed care company covering 750,000 new jersey residents community education centers td bank the new jersey education association and by the russell berrie foundation promotional support provided by the record north jersey's trusted source and northjersey.com and by commerce magazine [music playing] [music playing]
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welcome to caucus new jersey i'm steve adubato you know haiti lacks access to clean water and its people continue to suffer. the country may be very far from new jersey but organizations here are working hard to make a difference. joining me here in the studio to discuss ways to improve the water situation in haiti we have doctor jay meegoda who is professor director of the geotechnical testing lab at njit that's the new jersey institute of technology bob iacullo executive vice president of united water. our good friend mike maron who got us into this in the first place and started teaching us about haiti president and ceo holy name medical center and finally mildred antenor who is a university professor and media commentator with our partners at wbgo and npr affiliate in new jersey and also happens to be a haitain-american
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i want to thank you for joining us. we're gonna talk to you about your experience your family knows haiti very well. but mike you did get us into this. you did start talking to us about haiti. talk to us about holy name's connection to haiti and the hospital being built there because of your efforts and how we started learning about water >>so our medical staff has been going to haiti for the better part of 20 years >>doctor butler? >>doctor butler dave butler prominent member of our medical staff ob-gyn and we always used to give him supplies and pat him on the back and say we're proud of you dave good job. and that was the extent of our involvement and after the earthquake doctor butler came back doctor finley one of our anesthesiologists and they were visibly shaken they had seen things that they had never experienced before and they came to me and they said you know you gotta get involved a little bit more and try to help us and so we did and we stepped up and that evolved to in 2012 holy name becoming the official sponsor
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of ôpital sacé coeur which is in milot haiti it's the northern part of haiti about a half hour outside of cap-haitien which is the 2nd largest city in haiti >>and talk about as we show a video of the hospital talk about what that hospital provides and then the water situation and has a direct impact on what you're able to do or not do >>in northern haiti and especially in the district of milot the hospital itself is the while providing essential care to hundreds of thousands of people it is also the main economic engine so it employs more people than the govenrment does in that area. we are the main driver of... for that entire region so it's role is critical. the health needs in haiti are intense. a lot of it has to do with the lack of infrastructure the environment that's there the density the population the tragedies that occur
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from the earthquake to the cholera... >>2010 earthquake? >>2010 earthquake, 2011 cholera epidemic it just keeps manifesting itself in different ways there. the daily lifestyle is hard. there is no clean water on a regular basis >>there is no clean water on a regular basis? >>yeah most of the haitian environment again a lack of infrastructure so things that we take for granted here everyday >>such as? >>roads, clean water, public utilities, electricity, milot is remote enough there is no public electricity, we have to generate our own to run the hospital through generators most of the people in the town if they're fortunate they have a small generator or they tap into the grid somewhere ours or someone elses but they go without electricity. so the basic fundamentals the core lifestyle there is drastically different than it is here >>mildred put it into context because by the way bob got
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involved in united water i think you guys actually met on a show that we were doing you were coming to do different shows? >>that is correct >>yes >>mm hmm >>it might have been the green room >>yes it was >>it was >>and you started talking you both have businesses based in the bergen county area >>that's correct >>right >>and you got involved we'll talk about it in a second >>sure >>describe the life that you and your family know well in haiti >>well >>does it match up with what mike described? >>pretty much pretty much i would have to say that he's pretty accurate with that but i know that when i go to haiti it's a code shift it's an internal code shift that i have to do in terms of thinking okay i can't run water [laughter] when i'm brushing my teeth i can't let the water run you know that's a luxury that we don't even think about >>you can't let the water run? >>no you don't, you can't let water run. you can't let water run when you're taking a shower basically you have to kind of lather yourself up and then you rinse yourself off and you have a lot of people outside of the city of port-au-prince who don't have access to clear water because some people do >>mm hmm >>and a lot of people don't but those who are living in the rural areas most of them
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don't and so they really kind of relegate to kind of creative ways to get their water they use various chemicals and then of course they boil the water and then they clean themselves off or they'll use the water for cooking >>bob jump in here by the way njit plays a big role here and we'll talk about that in a second but bob talk about the connection how you got involved why you got involved and what you're doing >>okay how i got involved is just as you said mike and i were in the green room for separate tapings >>a couple years ago i think it was >>back in the day... it was in the... probably the spring of 2013 >>okay >>and i actually had not formally met mike before that and we got to talking and mike said that there may be an opportunity for united water to help out with the situation in haiti. >>but he was... you were thinking about the water problem? >>yes >>okay go ahead >>and then subsequent to that we had further conversations we signed a partnership agreement in the summer of 2013 and then went on our first mission in october of 2013 >>to do what? >>well initially the mission was
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to make an assessment of the water supply the water treatment waste water system if you could call it that and sanitation needs primarily for the hospital sacé coeur and then also to look at the water supply for the water supply for the town of milot our interest in this is that we're in the business of providing safe clean drinking water and also providing waste water services that's our only business that our employees are very dedicated to that and we know how critical clean safe water is to medical treatment and prevention so we had a high interest in doing that and our parent company suez environment has actually been active in haiti since 1995 >>hmm >>and that activity intensified in 2010 after the earthquake so there was something where there was already an organization and a structure set up to start providing services other services to haiti >>we're gonna show a couple pictures here bob and this is 2014 georgette
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2000...? what are we looking at right here bob take a look >>well what we're looking at right here is actually the foundation for the chlorination system that we were going to install and this is at the hospital so this is before as we were prepping... >>now? >>for it. now you see the completed chlorination system and that's two of our employees on the left is bill prahoda he's a hydrogeologist and on the right is hadel misri he's a senior project engineer for united water >>what have they just done? >>they actually just put together a chlorination system an automated chlorination system that was designed piloted and actually fabricated here in new jersey by our employees and then the hospital holy name hospital shipped the chlorination systems over to haiti >>and what potential impact does that have when you see that? >>so the haiti the place where everybody's talking is a
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city called milot and it has a community of about 30,000 people and >>milot has about 30,000 people? >>yes and the hospital actually serves more than 30,000 and also right after the cholera epidemic pretty much the northern part of the >>that's all there is >>yes >>that hospital is all there is for a lot of people >>yes >>go ahead >>so and so we go when we go to haiti we actually >>who's the we? >>we are the engineers without borders >>engineers without borders? >>of the new jersey... njit chapter >>go ahead >>and we have been going since 2007 and we try to go at least once or twice each year and we have very specific projects we try to implement and in 2008 i went and one of my missions was to actually test all the water sources in milot so we tested about
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ten different water sources >>what did you find? >>interesting. so there's two sources which were clean pretty clean. >>two of the ten? >>two of the ten. one was the well where the hospital gets the water >>right >>it's a deep well so pretty much it's a very clean supply and also the haitains usually get the clean water from cap-haitien they have a reverse osmosis plant and where it's like what you have under the sink. >>okay so that works >>yeah >>in the interest of time tell us what you found in the other eight >>the other eight usually they have a broken down water distribution system they also take water from streams so we've been to all the places and sampled and all of them had pathogens >>okay hold on pathogens one second you just said that they take water from streams. what's the problem with taking water from
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streams mike? >>well cause if you saw the because there's no sanitation in haiti the streams are also collecting grounds for all the garbage and waste that's left over >>wait a minute, hold on so the streams have garbage in them and therefore the water that comes out of those streams contaminated? >>yes >>yes absolutely >>and so people are doing what drinking it? >>yes >>and therefore >>and they're carrying water buckets out to their homes and then they drink and they use that to cook >>and therefore what diseases are then people more greater have a greater susceptibility to? is it cholera? >>yes >>mostly simple stomach problems and it gets aggravated and >>and they just keep doing this? >>yes and they recover and then they get it again. it's... >>mildred jump in and by the way does the government jump in and say hey we need to deal with this? >>well that's the problem
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it's a very very sad situation because when you go to haiti haiti's really a beautiful country believe it or not >>a beautiful country? >>it really is i mean it has a really beautiful landscape the problem is that there's no real government leadership there's no real effective leadership and that's been going on for years and years and years think back in the 19... the late 1960's you have fraçois duvalier who actually instituted this water filtration company to clean the water up and that went as far as port-au-prince or some areas of port-au-prince. late in the 1970's his son jean-claude duvalier who just died a couple years ago... a couple weeks ago took over and actually you know took that over but it didn't really go throughout the country it was only relegated to some areas in port-au-prince primarily the elites and so you have >>so what happens to the rest of the people? >>they had to make due with what they had. and so they became very creative i mean some of them knew enough to boil the water or to put various leaves you know in the... >>really? >>yeah to use... to kind of
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clean it up and then to boil it to get rid of some of the germs they did the best that they could with what they had >>so you got private organizations >>mm hmm >>you got a not for profit hospital >>mm hmm >>you got an organization you know united water with a parent company >>suez environmemt >>jumping in and doing what you can do, engineers without borders connected to you know njit an academic institution making the impact that you can make. mike... >>yeah yeah it seems like a you know an incredible task but i'll tell you jay and his students at njit they've been fabulous bob as i've said here before and what united water has done has been incredible and mildred... haiti is a gorgeous country i mean there's just the landscape and the people >>but what? >>right they have strong resolve >>yeah >>but what mike? >>but it suffers from a lack of focus and a lack of... in some
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regards us right we can also become the problem >>woah how... what... we're sitting here talking about you're doing and you're saying we can become a problem i don't understand >>well because there's no long term sustainable consistent engagement and so haiti suffers as one of my board members always says from a bad case of good intentions >>[laughter] >>[laughter] >>and there's a lot of us who want to go down and help and we're well intentioned but we do it in short stints and it's a big lift and so people get overwhelmed by that and then they retreat and say well i did my best or i feel god about what i did i made a slight difference but haiti doesn't move forward it falls back and the haitains that i've come to know in many regards resent that. and so when the blonde, when we come down >>[laughter] >>is that how they refer to us? >>yeah they refer to us >>yes... the blonde [laughter] >>as "the blonde" the whites we are looked at with some skepticism. we're also they've also and they caution about becoming too parasitic
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because it's easy for them to say well just give me >>mm hmm >>and then i don't have to take responsibility or accountability for my own actions >>and that doesn't work? >>it does not work and so our model is very different it's to build accountability it's to try to build... >>this is the holy name model? >>yeah and try to build sustainability and that's why when we can find partners like united water njit where we can craft long term sustainable interventions and it's hard because you have to be patient >>but also someone has to be the quarterback on the other end? >>correct so >>someone has to lead the effort on the other end? >>correct and we're fortunate we have doctor harold previl who's a haitain physician who is the ceo of the hospital there and he works with me and he's the one who carries water on a daily basis and his senior team now which has evolved quite nicely over the last couple of years and we are instilling this culture of accountability and responsiblity >>and then on your end i mean you listen to everything your friend and colleague just said about the blonde
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if you will and the whole question of potential resentment >>[laughter] >>your thoughts about that? >>well i mean the sustainability is key to any water supply system or waste water system for instance with the chlorinators >>yeah that looked great >>yeah >>people looked at that and go hey look that's terriffic >>it's ingenious >>things are turning around >>yeah but >>but what? >>it's simple it was inexpensive you're talking about a 500 dollar investment per chlorinator but you have to monitor the chlorine residuals to make sure that they're doing what they're supposed to do in terms of killing the pathogens and so forth in the water you have to refresh the hychloric pellets that are being used. so it's... >>who's doing that on the other end? >>well we developed, not only did we install an operator to make sure they were working properly but we put together a standard operating procedure so again there should be sustainability we've made some other reccommendations particularly you know having the system in a locked enclosure so no one could make unauthorized adjustments
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to it and so forth but again you know you need to have somebody monitoring the situation you can't just do this and then walk away and you know leave it on its own >>are you at the mercy of how effective the implementation is? in terms of monitoring on the other end? >>yeah making sure that people understand how it operates and what needs to be done on a continuous basis >>but it's much better so let me give you two scenarios of what it was like before >>you mean there's a silver lining here? >>yeah well before this the automated chlorinators were designed and specifically to be low maintenance on the ground easy to manage >>meaning easy to manage? >>yeah and i'll give you two examples. one, of good intentions that really went bad. so very well intentioned ngo organization donated these solar driven filter systems that you would put at the wellhead and the water would come out and it would go through an elaborate filter system and then come out. the problem with that is those filters need to be backflushed cleaned and >>oh boy >>maintained on a regular basis >>complicated? >>yeah
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>>very complicated >>hmm >>and what we found is that in a very short time the filters were actually probably causing more damage than help because they weren't being backflushed they weren't being maintained properly and the system ultimately collapsed it wasn't it was too complicated for the environment. the flipside so once the filter system failed then no one had confidence in it, we had staff climbing 30 40 feet in the air to a water tower literally with a bottle of bleach, clorox bleach >>[laughter] >>and they would measure you know in a very [laughter] >>[laughter] >>you know simple way just how much bleach they put in and sometimes they would overchlorinate and sometimes they would underchlorinate and sometimes they wouldn't find anybody willing to climb the 40 foot trek to the top of the water tower especially when there were some snakes up there [laughter] >>[laughter] >>and so sometimes the water would chlorinated sometimes it wasn't a reliable system >>you know it's interesting mike talks about you know the climbing up the tree and the
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bleach and you know and it's humorous one level and that's not the intent but mildred on the other side and i know mike and everyone understands this for some and this is life and death right? put it in perspective >>it's... well the problem is bigger than the water i mean the wonderful work that united water and the hospital are doing i think that's wonderful i mean there are other companies also other american companies coming in to haiti to help. but the infrastructure is just totally non-existent. i mean you there are no roads. no viable roads. no sidewalks in terms of paved sidewalks that people can walk on. there are problems with the phone system the telephone system i know many times... >>pre earthquake? >>pre earthquake yes i mean it's always been that way as i mentioned before the only president that we know of that actually started to organize some system to chlorinate the water was fraçois duvalier and his son actually took over after that but... >>where is the demand on the part of... listen this is not a program... this is not a series on public broadcasting that
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focuses on international affairs. the truth is we do this series in part because mike brought this to us as a longtime friend but also because there's a large haitain american population here >>mm hmm >>question where is the demand on the part of the haitain people to say hey we deserve better? or is that a naive question? >>no it's not a naive question the haitain diaspora has for years i mean it's always been this way they basically supported haiti on their own they've supported their own little corner of haiti on their own so you have people who or either born here like me or people who were born in haiti they came here as children and they got educated here they're living here their lives are here they send money back to their families and that's how they support their own little corner of haiti because the government's not doing it >>so go back to the part about here. njit is involved your companies are involved am i correct that a big part of the reason that we in new jersey and the new york new jersey region are involved is because there are so many
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haitain americans here? is that a fair assessment? >>yes and no. so we got involved because of crudem and there was... one of the doctors which told me that he's a gynecologist he wanted to go and practice his profession but unfortunately he cannot do anything because all his patients come with stomach problems. which is so trivial and... >>which is...excuse me again connected to the water? >>yes o it's funny you'd be talking... we'll be talking about something else and it comes back to water >>yes >>mm hmm >>go ahead i'm sorry >>so he said that this is not a doctor's issue this should be an engineer's issue. that engineers should get together and find solutions. so we have a very simplistic solution we proposed and we're implementing and also is funded by hat-fund where we provide the
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knowledge to the haitain community or the milot... >>what does it mean to the haitain community? that's a broad description. who particularly? >>so the crudem also has the system >>crudem is the foundation to be clear >>yes >>mike put that in perspective >>so crudem is the us foundation now a subsidiary of holy name that >>your hospital? >>yes that financially supports and coordinates efforts on behalf of ôpital sacé coeur in milot >>got it. got a few minutes left so go ahead. >>so the crudem also has a sister organization there it's a technical school and we approach them and we hired a group of the students and got them educated on constructing a very simplistic device and right now they are manufacturing them and distributing them >>and that device does what? >>that provides clean water 95 percent pathogen free >>and that's a concrete box as
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we showed? >>yes >>describe that box real quick >>so it has a shell which is >>that's it? >>yes a very simple box the most difficult part is to make that concrete shell and then... >>are all those materials found in haiti? >these are all made in haiti and >>so it's doable? >>yes very doable and our solution is actually we think that we should not bring any technology from outside haiti and they should... what we're doing is we are trying to educate them. and they could generate... >>because as we talked about bob, it's got to be done on the other end right? >>that's right >>yes >>for it to be sustainable >>sustainable? >>yes >>right >>a couple minutes left reason to be hopeful is? >>the reason to be helpful? >>the reason to be hopeful >>hopeful? again when we made our first mission out there our team had made ten reccommendations. nine of them were implemented. the other one which was to put an aligner was done when we were there so to me that was very encouraging that things
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were actually being done and i believe with the chlorination systems at least again with the standard operating procedure as mike aid the simplicity of it keeping it on a ground level, using the hyperchloride pellets as opposed to liquid sodium hypochloride, keeping things very simple that they should be very sustainable. >>and you believe mike in the limited time we have left all the years you've been doing this? >>mm hmm >>in spite of all the challenges and mildred knows this better than most, you remain optimistic because? >>because every day i find people like jay and bob and mildred who understand, who appreciate all that they've accomplished here and had the sense of we need to give back. and so as bob articulated you can make a difference there with very little effort you just have to be focused and you have to put it in the proper context so if we... and that's our role. so our role has sort of evolved to be a coordinator. there's over
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a thousand medical volunteers who go to haiti through crudem through holy name our goal is to make sure they are consistent in the message and the mission of what they do. that they train the haitain staff to be sustainable and they convey a culture of accountability and responsibility >>our role is to continue o shed a light... shed important light on this important issue we're a new jersey based program in this area but there are so many people who continue to suffer and thank you for bringing this issue to us and thank you all for helping us tell the story. thank you very much >>thank you >>thank you >>the preceding program has been a production of the caucus educational corporation celebrating over 25 years of broadcast excelence and thirteen for wnet njtv and whyy funding for this edition of caucus new jersey has been provided by the law firm of gibbons pc new jersey natural gas qualcare inc community education centers td bank the new jersey education association
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and by the russell berrie foundation transportation provided by air brook limousine serving the metropolitan new york new jersey area caucus new jersey has been produced in partnership with tristar studios this program has been made possible in part by the fidelco group hi i'm eric. you might see me as an ordinary person but i've been living with a brain injury for nearly two years. one of my struggles is short term memory loss. at opportunity project i'm given hope and support and i've gained my confidence back through the job placement program despite my challenges i have a reason to keep improving today even though life has changed me, i believe that anything is possible closed captioning provided by aciem studios www.aciemstudios.com
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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: surprising new numbers show tremendous momentum for the u.s. economy, reaching its highest growth rate in a decade. we'll take a look at what economists are expecting for 2015. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also ahead, peru's ruins have stood for centuries, but extreme el nino storms threaten to wash them away. we explore how archaeologists are bolstering the defenses of these ancient treasures, piece by piece. >> woodruff: plus, side by side on the front lines of battle, soldiers and their canine counterparts form a special bond in the face of danger. a look at man's best friend as his source of strength in c

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