Update from the field, by Chris Kenning
At a remote crossroads high in Puerto Rico’s Cordillera Central mountains, crowds on Saturday lined up with buckets and bottles to get rare, purified water from a tank in the back of a pickup truck brought by a Louisville-based WaterStep team, who worked until after dark purifying tanks in a town forced to use river water since Hurricane Maria took the country’s water systems offline.
“No one has come to help us, only you,” said one 63-year-old woman, wiping tears as she watched her dirty yard tank transformed into safe water for cooking, bathing and drinking.
Flowing water and music from a cantina created a joyful atmosphere on the latest day of WaterStep’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico setting up safe water systems. Locals spilled out of houses and shops to watch and thank WaterStep members Mark Hogg, Larry Freibert, Joe Jacobi, Bill Parker and Lynn Smith, who scrambled up ladders and used the M100 and BleachMaker to treat barrels of rain and river water.
In order to continue to combat the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, WaterStep and the National Puerto Rico Leadership Council Education Fund are working hard to raise funds to install WaterStep’s purification kits in all 78 Puerto Rican municipalities. The first 22 have been deployed with the WaterStep team and are being installed. To donate, please visit www.waterstep.org/donate-2 and write Disaster Relief in the additional comments section.
“It is a blessing to have Mark and our Board Member Alexandra Lugaro’s grassroots logistical skills working as a team to bring these life-saving water purification systems to my people in Puerto Rico” Carlos R. Guzman, president/CEO NPRLCEF, Inc