hurricane relief by Claude J. Easy November 3, 2017
Areas affected by the slew of hurricanes this year are still in a state of reconstruction.
Donation efforts have been incredible, but one of the main issues that still remains is getting drinkable water to the hurricane victims.
People are getting sick or dying from thirst and contaminated water. There are still around one million American citizens in Puerto Rico who have no access to clean water.
This morning we received the following update from our partners delivering aid to #PuertoRico 🇵🇷. They are delivering #LifeStraw Community to rural clinics without access to safe water. We wanted to share a voice from ground and photos to show the team work and impact that donations to the Safe Water Fund are having- still more work to do – (link in bio) _____________________ “Our delivery of LifeStraw products, gear, insulin and other medicines this weekend in Puerto Rico went off without a problem! _____________________ Friday we unpacked the LifeStraw Community filters and repacked them stuffed with medicines, gear, and supplies, cushioned by hospital gowns and scrubs into 7 boxes earmarked for the 7 health centers we’re working with. We were able to leverage a sizeable donation of insulin and medication from our hospital, so each center received a pile of those, plus other supplies and gear. _____________________ José and I were allowed to check six of the boxes. On arrival, we mobilized our ground team and with help from the Puerto Rico National Guard immediately transported two of the boxes by helicopter with José to the islands of Culebra and Vieques, while the rest of the team went with me into the mountains to Morovis, Ciales, and Camuy. Everything went great, the weather held out, and we demonstrated the LifeStraw Community filters with each community health center. We also left a thumb drive with training videos and written materials with each. One of our collaborators in Puerto Rico is following-up with the sites each week to see how they’re doing with the filters and we have the guys who went with us into the mountains trained in the operation and maintenance of the filters in case anything is needed. This was truly an awesome donation that you enabled – I know it’s a drop in the bucket but it was very helpful to the groups we work with. The communities are recovering slowly but MANY are still too isolated and under-resourced. This tragedy is unfortunately still unfolding – mosquitoes are terrible (we were bit constantly) and water is a struggle, still, everywhere. But, the trees are starting to show green and that gives people hope”
The LifeStraw mechanism makes contaminated water safe to drink. But how?
Every filter and purifier uses a hollow fiber membrane that mechanically removes contaminants from water.
Dirty water goes into the LifeStraw product, microorganisms are physically removed, and safe drinking water comes out.
Imagine really small tubes with even smaller pores that trap contaminants, but allow water to flow through.
In relation to the hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, Kulture Hub was able to catch up with LifeStraw’s partner, Dr. Timothy D. Dye, who is on the ground in Puerto Rico.
Dr. Dye let us know what the real situation is on the devastated island,
“The communities are recovering slowly but many are still too isolated and under-resourced. All of the places we visited had some things but not others, all of them struggled with water, insulin, electricity, and basic provisions for their workers. This tragedy is unfortunately still unfolding – mosquitoes are terrible and water is a struggle, still, everywhere. But, the trees are starting to show green and that gives people hope.”
Professor Timothy D. Dye, Ph.D., José Pérez-Ramos, a Puerto Rican Ph.D. student, and their colleagues from the University of Rochester are in partnership with LifeStraw.
Both Dye and Ramos are also in collaboration with numerous Puerto Rican community agencies – the PROTECT Project, the Asociación de Salud Primaria de Puerto Rico, and a network of community health centers.
Their help efforts in PR have been incredible.
Governor Cuomo taking #LifeStraw Community and LifeStraw Family to #PuertoRico today! One of the first US officials to visit Puerto Rico after #hurricanemaria , is returning today to help address #safewater . We applaud this leadership and will explore ways we can help support his efforts in PR. Photo credit – @nygovcuomo
Dr. Dye and Ramos are not the only people LifeStraw is collaborating with. In fact, they are partnered with multiple organizational partners all over the country. LifeStraw’s main focus is,
“To ensure we are working with organizations with long-standing activities and relationships in Puerto Rico so that the products we provide can get to the hardest-to-reach areas and can be sustainably supported over the long-term.”
LifeStraw is truly in this for the long haul as their products last three to five years. One product changing the game in PR is their LifeStraw Community water purifier.
The LifeStraw Community water purifier provides safe water for 75 to 100 people. Those are life-changing numbers.
By the way, it also meets the highest standard for microbiological removal based on independent testing from the World Health Organization.
6 million liters of bottled water are being sent to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Unfortunately, this quantity of plastic water bottles cannot provide sustainable access to safe water for communities. This is why as of this week, LifeStraw has sent out several hundred LifeStraw, LifeStraw Go and LifeStraw Community filters and purifiers through a number of groups and individuals that are distributing them to people in need. Some products should arrive to Puerto Rico this weekend and others later next week. As we receive additional donations and identify distribution partners we will continue to send LifeStraw products to the communities that need them as quickly as possible. Every contribution helps! #puertorico #hurricanemaria #lifestraw
LifeStraw is also very out here with their Safe Water Fund!
The Safe Water fund is aimed at not only helping Puerto Rico, but parts of the Caribbean, Texas, Florida, and other areas in the Gulf of Mexico that have also been affected by hurricanes.
So far, in Puerto Rico, the Safe Water Fund has been able to provide more than 20,000 residents with access to clean water filters and purifiers. Help double that number, better yet triple it!
There are other help efforts you can donate to as well. LifeStraw is also gearing up for their fourth annual Follow the Liters campaign, where they distribute water purifiers to schools in developing communities to bring safe water to school children.
In February 2018, the Follow the Liters campaign will take place in Western Kenya where it will reach a major milestone – bringing safe water to over one million kids.
How? For every product purchased at retail, a school child in a developing community receives safe water for an entire school year.
This is one hell of a mission. Make sure to follow LifeStraw on their journey as they continue to respond to natural disasters and maintain their long-standing programs in rural schools in Kenya and India.