Dec 24, 2013

Donors Needed to Fund Water, Power Packages in Philippines

H2OpenDoors requests donations to bring generators and water filtration units to the city of Tacloban

H2OpenDoors SunSpring Units Typhoon Haiyan Tacloban

On Nov.8, one of the most powerful and destructive tropical cyclones in recorded history made landfall in the central Philippines, dealing a crushing blow to Tacloban City and surrounding areas. Jon Kaufman, member of Peninsula Sunrise Rotary, recently spent a week in the region, where he saw firsthand the desperate need for clean water for the thousands of homeless and displaced residents. H2OpenDoors is asking for donations to bring generators and water filtration units to Tacloban to prevent any more human suffering.

H2OpenDoors makes possible the installation of the revolutionary SunSpring units, solar and wind-powered filtration towers that dispense up to 20,000 liters of clean water every day from any contaminated water source. Properly maintained, these units can run smoothly for many years, even allowing for a micro-economy of clean water sales. Meanwhile, generators can power streetlights, making neighborhoods less forbidding after sunset. A water and power package — one generator and one SunSpring ultrafiltration unit — costs slightly less than $30,000 and can meet the needs of 1,000 people for 10 years.

So far, two SunSpring units have been deployed in Tacloban, one at RTR Hospital and another in the district of Suhi. Philip Romualdez, manager of the holding company behind the hospital and the adjacent medical university, witnessed the installation of a system. "The SunSpring represents a breakthrough in how we can deliver the most fundamental resource to our people," he explained. "The water being delivered in bottles and bladders as part of the relief efforts by large NGOs is appreciated and will help for the next few months. But the solar-powered purification is permanent and can help prevent a cholera outbreak like the one witnessed in Haiti 10 months after that country's devastating earthquake." Rather than chemically treating the contaminated water with chlorine in an effort to kill the bacteria and viruses, ultrafiltration membranes in these systems physically remove the pathogens, leaving only pure, microbiologically-safe drinking water.

Cholera is just one of many potentially fatal tropical diseases that are spread via contaminated water. In Haiti, unsafe drinking water following the 2010 earthquake led to a cholera outbreak that claimed 9,000 lives, on top of the 100,000-plus who died as a direct result of the quake.

For the next 60 days, contributions made on the H2OpenDoors website will help bring SunSpring units to typhoon-ravaged Tacloban City; Rotary Intl. relies entirely on expert volunteers rather than paid staff, so 100% of all donations go directly to helping people in need.