Disaster relief Archives - WaterStep

Safe Water for Nepal

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The WaterStep team in Nepal has trained over 200 people in water treatment and health education, and they finished out their week by going to do local installations in other earthquake-affected regions of Nepal.

After years of experience in disaster relief, the WaterStep staff redesigned their training programs to deliver greater impact to the areas needing access to safe water and hygiene. Instead of responding to disasters with large teams on the ground, WaterStep realized that they could be more effective by sending a small team to train local non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) in water treatment and health education. Those NGO’s can then use what they’ve learned and take it back to other areas to train even more people, multiplying the effect of WaterStep’s efforts.

At WaterStep, training includes not only water treatement education, but also health education, a critical part of our work. Both pieces come together to promote better health in communities around the world. WaterStep’s disaster relief in Haiti, India, Costa Rica, and the Philippines revealed that health education was crucial to improved health. Our health education teachers walk trainees through basic practices like how to make a hand washing station with common materials, protect homes from flies, prevent common types of  parasites from spreading, and treat diarrheal illness in babies, children and adults. Paired with water treatment training, these two strategies can provide long-term solutions for a community.

Our team in Nepal has been encouraged and inspired by the response to their training. Many Nepali people walked and traveled for days over tough terrain to reach the training location. A member of parliament attended the training along with Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus. The diversity of the individuals trained through this trip will not only save lives but help bridge cultural divides. At WaterStep, we believe peace and health can be achieved through water.

WaterStep’s disaster relief work in Nepal will not only address the immediate needs of the earthquake affected people, but it will improve their water access for years to come.

 

*All photos taken by Philip Andrews

Click to donate to future WaterStep projects and disaster relief efforts.


Responding in Nepal

“Kathmandu is getting back to normal now, but water is not.”

That’s what N.D. Lama told me when I spoke with him yesterday about the current situation in Nepal, where a 7.8 earthquake hit the central region of the country late last month.  N.D., a seminary student from Nepal, is working to bring services to the areas most affected.

“Water is a big issue,” said N.D about the areas where he is working. “We got some water tablets and distributed them but it was not enough.” N.D. and his team, who have provided health and education services in Nepal over the last decade, attended a training at WaterStep this past week in preparation to train responders in Nepal to set up mini water treatment systems in communities devastated by the earthquake.

 

Nepal safe water disaster relief

 

N.D. spoke of the chaos permeating Nepal. “People are in turmoil. They lost maybe half of their relatives. Life is difficult, but even though they lost their homes, they have hope. We are trying to bring hope.”

Despite decreased media attention, safe drinking water is still scarce and earthquake victims are in danger of waterborne illness that often comes in the aftermath of a natural disaster. “Our challenge is if they don’t get water soon, there will be another disaster – an epidemic or disease will come next.”

WaterStep is sending N.D.’s team to equip responders in Kathmandu with water kits to provide safe water to those at highest risk of waterborne illness. Each of these kits can service up to 10,000 people a day and can provide safe water for years.

You can be a part of helping Nepal rebuild. By giving to Nepal, you will not only help provide immediate relief, but will equip communities with safe water for years to come. Give today and help Nepal recover.

 

 Give to Nepal

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Fifth Anniversary of Haiti Earthquake

 

Five years ago today, we remember with deepest sympathy the people of Haiti and their great loss of family, structure and hope. Here are some reflections, including a short video from that time put together by our friends at City On A Hill.

January 12, 2010 was a Thursday. At 5:15pm, a friend called the office to give us a heads up that minutes before, a severe earthquake had ravaged Haiti.

We were concerned for the safety of our missionary family in the Dominican Republic and those we knew in-country. Immediately, a long night of phone calls was launched. We looked for our Haitian friends, contacted NGO partners and made sure our local supporters and churches knew what was happening. We turned up the volume on the news channels and watched with the rest of the world as the horror unfolded.

In the midst, The Salvation Army asked us to help them respond with water. As the hours passed, our thoughts turned toward a plan and the possibility of a larger effort.

The next morning, I came to the office early. Fifteen people were already standing outside the door; several were strangers. They greeted me and said, “We thought WaterStep (then EDGE Outreach) might be attempting to do something for the crisis in Haiti and we want to help.” Humbled, I unlocked the door. During the next 6 weeks, 24/7 and then beyond, our staff, friends, community and volunteers committed to bring water in a sustainable way to those people living in an upheaved land.

It seems selfish at the price of such loss to others saying those moments changed us, but they did. Winston Churchill said, “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” Transformation can be a choice. But earthquakes force transformation upon us with no regard. A man once told me, “It’s better to move through tragedy than past it.” It’s true, but messy. This perspective reveals past pain that’s a part of us, clearly seen and felt in our hindsight.

The people of Haiti didn’t choose their transformation, but continue to live it by allowing its memory to dictate hope or despair. As a global community, we remember too. While we embrace all things tragic and celebrative, it would be a great loss to waste this moment not reflecting on its impact in our own lives.

It has surely transformed me. I owe it to the people of Haiti to ponder that.

Though these past years have seen much good happen, the scars are deep. The earthquake blast peppered its devastation into the life of every single Haitian. Its impact continues to vibrate like the rumblings of rolling terrain as a part of their history. Today, I simply ask that Haiti remember less and less the reverberation of the land and more and more echoes of renewal that could pour within their hearts.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

To all the people of the WaterStep team who sacrificed their time, talent, treasures and knelt in prayer during those months of 2010.

To our Haitian friends who have given their lives to the dream of a healed country.

To the NGO’s and churches who worked along side us equipping, enabling us, empowering us to be better.

To the community of Louisville for believing that ordinary people can make a difference.

To the men and women who joined our teams on the ground from Haiti, Canada and the U.S. at great risk – there are no words.

And to God. May we eventually see your hope on the other side of all calamity.

I invite your response on how the earthquake five years ago impacted your own life and the lives of those you care about.

 

Blessings,

Mark Hogg
Founder and CEO
WaterStep


Training the trainer: bringing safe water, disaster relief to Tacloban City

WaterStep Installation In Tacloban from WaterStep on Vimeo.

Shoji Castillo, 24, of the Rotary Club of Cebu, installs a donated water purifier in Tacloban City, one of the areas hardest hit in the Philippines by last month’s typhoon.Shoji attended the first day of WaterStep’s training in Cebu City. Video by Kylene White.

WaterStep’s Kylene White and Chris Kenning followed Shoji Castillo to Tacloban City where Shoji installed a water purifier in the Palo Cathedral, a church that serves as a center for much needed aid and disaster relief in Tacloban City. The cathedral had no access to clean water and was relying solely on bottled water from aid. See more photos from the training at Palo Cathedral and around Tacloban City.

To learn more about what WaterStep is doing in the Philippines, including all media updates, visit our Philippines page.

For the latest news, check back here on the WaterStep blog, which will be updated regularly while our team is on the ground. Follow WaterStep on Twitter @WaterStep, using the hashtag #WSHaiyan. Follow Courier-Journal reporter and WaterStep team member Chris Kenning @ckenning_cj for updates from the field.

For donations made in Canada, visit our partners Water Ambassadors Canada online to receive a Canadian tax receipt.

Philippines donation button


Water purifiers installed in disaster-stricken Philippines, bringing hope to typhoon victims

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“We need foods: rice and water.” WaterStep team’s Kylene White and Chris Kenning followed water training attendees to Tacloban City, one of the areas hardest hit by last month’s typhoon. Photos by Kylene White

View the full photo gallery.

The WaterStep team wrapped up their last day of training today, training a total of 151 individuals representing 43 disaster relief organizations. It’s been a moving experience for everyone involved, trainers and trainees alike. Here is some feedback from the training attendees:

“The people in Hilantagaan island do not have access to clean drinking water and they have to cross to the bigger, neighboring Bantayan Island by pumpboat to get their supply of clean drinking water. During the rainy season, the people of Hilantagaan gather as much rain water as possible since this is also used as drinking water. Thank you very much for coming to Cebu and bringing this wonderful invention to help provide clean and safe drinking water to our communities and in effect, help alleviate the living conditions of our fellow Filipinos in the islands. “

-Pinky Gonzales, Last Days Harvest Mission Fellowship

 

“This mean a lot to us in Surigao because our location is very prone to typhoons and water is life.The number of lives we can serve and save through your generosity knows no limit.”

-Maribel Ortega, Monasterio de San Benito

 

“What is even more gratifying is the strong commitment and unselfish dedication you and your people have shown in the service which was done here in the philippines, especially in Cebu. On a technical note, I noticed how simple and sturdy the equipment and operation are.”

-Roberto Ybanez, Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water Foundation

 

“Our gratefulness is beyond measure. I have been praying for all sorts of miracles in these times of grave crisis but I never dreamed it would be WaterStep and its amazing chlorinating machine that is MORE than just a temporary answer to our water crisis at Bantayan island.”

-Kai Despi, Bantayanon District Hospital

Kylene White and Chris Kenning followed Shoji Castillo, 24, of the Rotary Club of Cebu, to Tacloban City, one of the areas hardest hit by last month’s typhoon. Shoji attended the first day of water training. In Tacloban City, Shoji installed a water purifier in the Palo Cathedral, a church that serves as a center for much needed aid and relief in Tacloban City. The cathedral had no access to clean water and was relying solely on bottled water from aid. Photos are from the training in Palo Cathedral and around Tacloban City.

To learn more about what WaterStep is doing in the Philippines, including all media updates, visit our Philippines page.

For the latest news, check back here on the WaterStep blog, which will be updated regularly while our team is on the ground. Follow WaterStep on Twitter @WaterStep, using the hashtag #WSHaiyan. Follow Courier-Journal reporter and WaterStep team member Chris Kenning @ckenning_cj for updates from the field.

For donations made in Canada, visit our partners Water Ambassadors Canada online to receive a Canadian tax receipt.

Philippines donation button