On Friday, Nov. 8, the most powerful typhoon in recorded history made its first landfall in the Philippines. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council claims at least 1,774 people have died since Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the island nation; this number is expected to rise considerably over the days and weeks to come. According to UN estimates, another 11 million people have been directly affected by the storm, including more than 670,000 Filipino citizens who have been displaced from their homes.
Now, a worldwide relief effort is underway to aid to the survivors of this devastating typhoon. Clean drinking water is a major concern among aid workers, as contaminated water systems have greatly increased the risk of dehydration and water-borne illnesses (such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid fever) within affected populations. Among those working to mitigate this issue is Waves for Water (W4W), an organization that supplies water filtration systems to victims of natural disasters across the globe. This week, W4W will kick off its relief effort in the Philippines by installing 200 filtration units to supply roughly 20,000 people with clean water.
We discussed W4W’s Super Typhoon Haiyan relief project with the organization’s founder, Jon Rose, who flew to the Philippines last week and is currently working with local officials to assess short- and long-term needs.
Brad Nehring: How has Waves for Water assisted natural disaster victims in the past?
Jon Rose: Over the past four years we have worked on almost every major global disaster: earthquakes and tsunamis in Indonesia, Haiti, Japan, and Chile; mega-floods in Pakistan, India, and Brazil; and specifically our comprehensive initiative in response to “Super-Storm Sandy” here in the U.S. Needless to say, we feel quite equipped to not only respond to these types of events, but do so quickly and efficiently.
BN: What can you tell us about the type of water filtration system that Waves for Water will provide to typhoon victims?
JR: The MVP Filter is the lightest and most versatile filtration system we offer. It has the potential to impact 100 people per filter and the filter life is about 1 million gallons. We have used these exact bucket filtration systems in almost ever corner of the world and the measurable impact they have is unparalleled. The main challenge with the global water crisis is not a question of technology, but rather a question of access and ultimately, that is exactly what our program is designed to do ― provide access.
BN: How does Waves for Water plan to assist these affected populations, in terms of both short- and long-term needs?
JR: Our initial goal with any project like this is to help mitigate some of the immediate suffering by providing victims with access to safe water. Then, as we have boots on the ground and start to establish our networks, we will implement long-term programs that can be managed and built upon locally.
BN: Is Waves for Water working with any other organizations on this project?
JR: For the initial launch Waves For Water has support from fellow disaster relief organization Reach Out WorldWide (ROWW) and key supporter Hurley H2O.
BN: Where can people donate money to support this cause?
JR: Donations can be made online.
So far, the organization has raised more than $80,000 from online donors for the Super Typhoon Haiyan relief project. For more information about the organization’s efforts in the Philippines, please visit the official Waves for Water website.