Tsunami Disaster Response Across the Industry

The devastation brought on by the December 26 earthquake and tsunami in Southern Asia shook the entire world. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives. Unfortunately, those who survived the flood waters now face life-threatening illnesses due to contaminated water supplies and the threat of waterborne diseases.

Among all the devastation are countless examples of support and commitment to aid the victims. Joining efforts, the water industry responded in search of ways to help. Here are a few great examples of the relief efforts from various organizations, associations and companies.

Only days after the disaster, the Water Quality Association (WQA) announced that it has contacted all of its members and others in their database located in the affected countries to determine if they can receive donations or products.

WQA coordinated with Water for People (WFP), an international nonprofit development organization acting as a liaison with international organizations that specialize in relief work, to deliver aid to the tsunami victims. The American Water Works Association, the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the National Association of Water Companies, the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies and the International Water Association also joined WFP’s efforts.

In addition, WEF’s Board of Trustees announced that it has approved a $25,000 special contribution to WFP. The donation will support the WEF’s respond to calls for assistance in the long-term rebuilding of water and sanitation infrastructures in areas of Southeast Asia and India.

Many businesses rushed forward to offer assistance as well. ITT Industries announced that it will donate water purifying equipment and expertise to some of the areas hit hardest by the tsunami and contribute financial aid to the global humanitarian relief effort.

ITT Industries prepared 60 portable ST1 water treatment units for delivery to the disaster area and plans to ship gas-fed chlorinators to relief organizers operating in the region.

In addition to addressing the issue of water safety, ITT Industries said that it will donate $500,000 to help defray the enormous costs associated with providing relief to all victims of the tsunami. The funds will be sent to agencies working on a global basis to support the relief efforts.

Another company to join the relief efforts was USFilter, a Siemens company, which released a statement that it will provide drinking water treatment units to the effected regions of Southeast Asia. USFilter’s Memcor group, working with Siemens Thailand office and Loxley Public Co., its distributor in Thailand, plans to contribute seven treatment units, which utilize the company’s membrane and disinfection technology. The company said that it provided more than 1 million Euros ($1.3 million) and employees contributed 341,267.39 Euros ($444,496.43) to Siemens Caring Hands in Germany; more than 3,350 donors participated. In Thailand, employees donated 1 million Baht ($25,967.14) as well.

In addition, ZENON Environmental announced that it will send its Homespring units to provide clean, safe water to victims in India and Sri Lanka.

Clearly, this is just a small part of the numerous individuals, businesses and organizations who offered their extraordinary support to the tsunami survivors. If you are interested in joining the efforts, contact WQA at 630.505.0160, or by e-mail at info@mail.wqa.org.

Neda Simeonova, Editor nsimeonova@sgcmail.com

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