WaterStep is preparing to respond to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Ecuador on April 16th, causing wide-spread devastation and more than 650 deaths. This is the deadliest quake to hit the South American country of Ecuador in decades. We are working with Socidades Biblicas Unidades de Ecuador, an Ecuadorian NGO that has established 50 refugee camps housing approximately 75,000 people. WaterStep is supplying the technology and education needed to effectively bring safe water and health education to the victims. We plan to launch our efforts as early as next week.
The situation in Ecuador continues to worsen due to aftershocks, mudslides, and the delayed collapsing of buildings. With the rainy season just around the corner, the threat of rapidly spreading water-borne disease is imminent. Officials have identified the need for safe water and disease preventing measures as the top priorities in the recovery efforts.
In addition to providing safe water equipment and health training, WaterStep will send their recently developed bleach maker to Ecuadorian health clinics for field testing. After witnessing many sanitation challenges in the field, as well as receiving a request from another NGO during the Ebola outbreak, WaterStep aimed to create a new technology that could produce medical grade bleach while remiaining simple, effective and portable. WaterStep led a group of volunteers from University of Louisville, Louisville Water Company and General Electric’s First Build Innovation Center worked together to develop this very powerful disinfectant tool, and it will be field tested in health clinics at the refugee camps in Ecuador.
Mark Hogg, founder and CEO of WaterStep says, “Over the years WaterStep has worked to develop a network of innovators, donors, and friends who together have seen the impact of safe water during dire times. In Ecuador, we were introduced to the leaders managing the response effort, and now we can work quickly and efficiently to save lives.”
When disasters like this strike, individuals and organizations often focus their relief efforts on sending bottled water to the affected communities. But in fact, WaterStep’s portable water chlorinator provides a more sustainable, long-term source of safe water at a tiny fraction of the cost required to ship pre-packaged water.
WaterStep is also assisting ‘Ecuatorianos in da Ville’, another local organization planning disaster relief efforts, by donating four of its innovative M-100 water chlorinators and training. WaterStep’s M-100 has been recognized internationally by Sustainia100 as one of the world’s most impactful and sustainable solutions. The M-100, which was developed by WaterStep with the help of volunteer engineers from General Electric (GE) and the Louisville Water Company, is a water chlorinator small enough to fit in a backpack, yet powerful enough to provide safe water for thousands of people each day. It uses table salt and a 12-volt car battery, or solar panels, to simply and safely produce chlorine gas. When the gas is injected into contaminated water, it is highly effective in killing disease-causing pathogens and can produce up to 38,000 liters of safe water each day. WaterStep’s M-100 is currently deployed in more than 25 countries around the world.
To get more information, or to donate to WaterStep’s safe water and health education projects, visit www.waterstep.org or call (502) 568-6342.