WaterStep, National Puerto Rico Leadership Council Education Fund join forces
In order to combat the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico caused by the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Louisville-based organization WaterStep and the National Puerto Rico Leadership Council Education Fund (NPRLCEF) have joined forces to install water purification units in all 78 Puerto Rican municipalities. The first 22 water purification kits will be deployed to Puerto Rico next week to provide safe drinking water and disinfectant to those affected by Hurricane Maria. The kits will be transported by truck to Fort Peirce, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 7, and to San Juan via Missionary Flights Intl. Tuesday, Oct. 10.
The NPRLCEF is coordinating training seminars where emergency response workers will gather to learn how to install and operate the simple and effective equipment. A five-person team from WaterStep, including founder and CEO Mark Hogg, will travel to Puerto Rico Tuesday, Oct. 10 to conduct the training sessions. Once trained, the emergency response workers will be given a kit to distribute throughout the hurricane affected communities. Another Louisville-based organization, Love the Hungry, is supporting this effort by sending more than 7,000 nutrient-rich meals and two energy-efficient rocket stoves to feed the response workers, volunteers and translators during the training.
Each WaterStep kit contains disaster-tested equipment that can provide thousands of gallons of safe drinking water each day. The kits include:
- A hard case box and bag;
- A portable bleach maker (an award-winning device that produces medical strength disinfectant used to sanitize clinics, kitchens, shelters);
- A solar panel (also serves as a cell phone charging station);
- An M-100 chlorine generator (an award-winning device that produces safe drinking water);
- A 500-gal bladder tank for fast initial storage;
- A generator power adapter in case electric is available;
- A manifold to push water in to tank storage;
- A two-stage filter pack for particulates; and
- A guzzler pump to pump water into storage tanks.
WaterStep has created and deployed affordable, effective, and sustainable safe water and sanitation solutions in various international disasters since 2009. At the onset of any disaster, agencies work hard to collect and deliver bottled water to disaster victims and bottled bleach to response workers. Though an important step, there are critical problems with bottled water and bottled bleach long term—it's expensive, heavy and not sustainable. Three cases of bottled water weigh 90 lb, and WaterStep's disaster relief kit weighs less then 100 lb and can produce thousands of gallons of safe drinking water each day.
WaterStep's aid for Puerto Rice is made possible thanks to an $81,000 grant from GE Appliances – a Haier company. The funding covers the cost of the first 22 disaster units and their transportation to Puerto Rico. To donate to WaterStep's disaster relief fund, visit www.waterstep.org.