Apr 27, 2017

WaterStep Responds to Colombia Landslide

Organization provides chlorinators, bleach makers in refugee camps

waterstep, colombia, landslide, mocoa, water, drinking water, chlorinator

After a landslide devastated Mocoa, Colombia, a team from WaterStep installed safe water tools in the area’s refugee camps.

Thousands are living in shelters after heavy rains caused mud, rocks and water to engulf the town of 60,000, sweeping away entire neighborhoods. Some areas remain without safe water and electricity, and government assistance is only a short-term solution to the problem, especially as landslides continue to destroy neighboring communities.

When the disaster occurred, WaterStep was finishing projects in Ecuador. After traveling for more than 15 hours on treacherous roads to reach Mocao, the team gathered a group of 60 medical workers, community leaders, and military representatives and trained them on how to install and use the organization's simple safe water tools. The team installed WaterStep's M-100 Water Chlorinators and Bleach Makers in several refugee camps, allowing approximately 1,000 families to have access to safe water and medical-grade bleach.

"When we heard about the devastation so close to us, and we had our safe water equipment in hand, so we knew we had to try and help," says Mark Hogg, founder and CEO of WaterStep. "Our partners in Ecuador began establishing connections and networks with Colombian officials, who ultimately invited us to help.

“When a disastrous flood like this hits a community, contaminated water invades every facet of the culture," Hogg said. "There's nothing safe to drink and no disinfectant to clean anything. Our tools and training not only fill gaps in the initial days of chaos, but, have also been proven as long-term solutions for safe water and health long after the tragedy has passed."

To support Colombian landslide survivors or WaterStep's ongoing safe water and health education projects around the world, visit www.waterstep.org or call 502.568.6342