The emergency response aspect of this project has been completed. A total of 266 Sawyer water filters were delivered and put into use.
To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.
The project was initiated to provide aid to stricken areas within days after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. Looking back, the impact on that country, with 99 million people, is hard to comprehend:
• 14.9 million people affected
• 4.13 million people displaced
• 6,100+ reported dead
• 26,233 reported injured
• 1.2 million damaged houses
The project was implemented by Water Charity in partnership with Wine to Water, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit engaged in water projects worldwide. It was managed by Kyle Lomax, Wine to Water’s International Projects Manager, and Doc Hendley, its Founder and President.
After Typhoon Haiyan struck, humanitarian aid from the international community sought to provide the most basic needs of survival (water, food, shelter, and medicine) to as many of the victims as possible. Many water systems were destroyed or contaminated with fecal coliform.
Due to the extreme devastation, logistics, transportation, and the enormous number of people in desperation posed problems. Water bottles were air dropped, expensive water purification systems were set-up, and water trucks began moving to distribute water.
Unfortunately, this initial aid reached as few as one quarter of the population in places like Tacloban City. In places on the outskirts of towns, more remote areas, and many smaller islands, no aid at all has yet been provided.
We chose to utilize an amazing water filter, called the Sawyer PointONE water filter. With the technology derived from kidney dialysis, Sawyer worked to improve this hollow fiber membrane technology, giving it better filtration rates and longevity. The result was “U” shaped micro-tubes, with tiny pore holes at 0.1 micron in size. This makes it impossible (99.99999%) for harmful bacteria, protozoa, or cysts like E. coli, Giradia, Cholera, and Typhoid to pass through the Sawyer filter.
It is the perfect filter to use for disaster response. Not only is the filter the most effective, it is very small (4x2 inches) and efficient (1 liter per minute flow rate). Each filter simply attaches to a container, usually a 5-gallon bucket, and is capable of producing over 200 gallons of clean water per day. It can provide water for several families for up to 10 years!
After a situation assessment on the ground, four locations around Tacloban City were chosen:
1. Diit, Mercyville (Barangay 99) – 100 filters
2. Upper Nulatula (Barangay 6) – 100 filters
3. Divisoria – 33 filters
4. Purok 1 – 33 filters
They were picked because they were some of the most in need and getting only “temporary relief” in the form on Hypsol chlorine solution or water trucks. These relief services were only lasting for a short period. Then, the locals were forced to go back to getting standing water or going to their contaminated wells.
The approach to the implementation was “relationship” driven. We worked from the bottom up and the top down within the communities, called barangays, to develop relationships and gain trust.
It started off with meeting with the barangay captains to mobilize all the heads of the households to meet at the barangay hall, which usually has a basketball court, perfect for doing training on the filter. Here we discussed the importance of clean water and sanitation, how it translates into better health and livelihood, and how to properly use/maintain/clean the filter. The goal was to make things fun and interactive, and, most importantly, to ensure that the filter would be properly used.
Filthy brown water was run through the filter and perfectly clean water could be seen by all. We drank the clean water along with the barangay captain and locals in the crowd. This allowed us to gain trust and make people feel comfortable to ask any questions and have discussions.
Then, we distributed the new filters and containers to the people, recorded their information, and let them know we would be checking to make sure everyone understood and used the filter.
In total, Water Charity provided 266 filters and containers, supplying an estimated 2,660 people with clean drinking water throughout Tacloban City! This is such a lasting impact that will totally transform these peoples’ lives forever. The cost for having this clean water comes out to be less than $0.50 per person, per year!
There remains a tremendous amount to be accomplished in the devastated areas, but the project has now moved on to a development phase. The extent to which we are able to continue with this important work is dependent solely on our success in raising funds to pay for same.
We again wish to thank the SLOW LIFE Foundation for their contribution to this project. We also extend our gratitude to Michael and Carla Boyle, Elmo Foundation, CannedWater4Kids, Dr. & Mrs. Gary Fraser, Carol Host, Elena Kramer, Diane Ray, Robert & Sandy Barrett, Gail Strasser, Desmyrna Taylor, Irving Ostrow, and all of the other donors for providing the funding that made this project possible.