Posted by: Wasrag | August 16, 2014

Water Missions seeks Rotary Clubs interested in Philippines WASH

Better than Before, Water for Life for Survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) – Philippines

By Jay Cook

Typhoon Haiyan — known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines — was one of the strongest tropical storms humans have ever recorded. Making landfall on the morning of November 8, 2013, it left a massive trail of destruction, killing more than 6,000 persons and displacing millions.
Responding to the disaster, individuals and agencies found complete devastation. Prior to the arrival of the typhoon, individuals living in the area were already suffering from pervasive poverty and poor infrastructure, including lack of access to safe water. For generations, those living in poverty in the Philippines drank contaminated water from local wells and suffered from a variety of water-borne illnesses, resulting in significant missed days of school and work as well as costly hospital visits. Responding to the disaster offered the opportunity to bring safe and sustainable drinking water to people who had never had it to start.
LWTS in BingawanIn collaboration with corporate partners, Water Missions International (WMI) launched an expansive emergency response effort and invested $1 million with the goal of building back the impacted communities better than before. To date, WMI’s relief efforts provided safe drinking water to approximately 130,000 persons on a daily basis. In addition to providing safe drinking water, WMI provided extensive health and hygiene training, helping people to understand the value of safe water. Families consume around 10 gallons of water a day, and before the storm they were forced to pay high prices for safe water — when it was available. WMI can produce the highest quality water at the lowest cost per gallon. The savings realized allow villagers to use the extra money to build back their livelihoods, making the road to recovery much faster. As one recipient of safe water in Bohol stated, “We lost everything, but I know we have to thank Yolanda because if it were not for the storm, we would not have safe water here.”
Mrs. Ma. Edelyn S. Capanas echoes this sentiment; she is the head teacher at Estancia High School. “Yolanda was a blessing for us because now we have safe drinking water. My students come to class, we teachers come to class — we are not thirsty any more during our day, and no one is sick anymore with stomach aches from lack of safe water.”
However, six months after the typhoon, the longevity of these systems is at risk as the next storm season approaches. Action needs to be taken to transition the systems in these communities to ensure that safe water production for the people of the Philippines will be sustainable for future generations. The community of Bingawan offers a perfect example of why a transition plan is necessary. A community of approximately 13,000 citizens, Bingawan has safe water that is available at all times for anyone to use. However, the system is out in an open field and fills the 2,500-gallon canvas bladder tank on the ground beside the municipal house.
This site and others like it need to be transitioned from a temporary solution to a sustainable one that includes construction to protect the equipment in the event of another storm. What will this entail? Creating a sustainable solution involves building reinforced concrete structures to house the equipment and extending the reach of existing tap stands further into the community. But even beyond construction lies the need to assist the community in understanding how to manage the safe water project to ensure that it will last for generations.
In addition, WMI has inventory of safe water equipment in the Philippines as well as a long list of communities requesting access to safe water.
“Our primary mission of responding to the disaster in the Philippines has been accomplished. Our goal now is to transition all disaster response operations to sustainable, community-managed projects that provide safe water permanently. Rotary is an invaluable partner on these types of projects. Rotarians understand that the keys to long-term success come from local community engagement and solutions customized to each community. Together, Rotary clubs can help WMI build back communities in the Philippines better than before,” said George Greene III, president and chief operating officer of WMI.”
If your rotary club wants to be a part of the effort to transition safe water projects in the Philippines from temporary to sustainable solutions, please contact Jay Cook, director of operations for WMI, a non-profit Christian engineering organization located in Charleston, SC. Jay may be reached by email  or (843) 769-7395, ext. 213.


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