Belgium, Malaysia, Panama or the U.A.E?

Which of these four countries has NOT been chosen as a place from which urgently required emergency water purification systems can be quickly dispatched in response to humanitarian crises around the world?

ShelterBox has pre-postioned emergency aid in Belgium, Malaysia, Panama or UAE

The answer, of course, is none of them, at least when it comes to pre-positioned stocks of Pure Hydration’s life saving Thirst Aid Station.

Rather than storing supplies at a single location, and then facing the problem of how to freight them half way round the world in an unnecessarily extended race against time to save lives, international disaster relief charity ShelterBox has strategically located thousands of emergency water purification Thirst Aid Stations at a regional distribution hub in each of these four countries.

In the critical period immediately following the start of a humanitarian disaster, and when time is of the essence to stop the outbreak and spread of disease, the ability to deliver essential equipment and supplies to impacted communities is greatly enhanced by having stockpiles as close as possible to the point of need.

The storage location in Belgium is with core aid item supplier Alpinter, in Panama it’s the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) humanitarian logistics services, while the sites in Malaysia and the U.A.E. are United Nations World Food Programme Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) facilities, all selected for the extended geographical reach they provide to ShelterBox when undertaking their customary rapid response operations.

ShelterBox rapid distribution hubs and Thirst Aid Station deployment

The relevance of ShelterBox rapid distribution hubs (red dots with country flags) to historical examples of Thirst Aid Station deployment (blue dots with dates (L-R: Ecuador (2016), Haiti (2016-17), Syria (2016), Somaliland (2017), the Philippines (2014), and North Korea (2015)).

The Thirst Aid Stations were delivered directly to the hubs between 19 April and 01 June. 

The low profile form and light weight of the supplied Thirst Aid Stations mean that storage at hubs is optimised, with a single small pallet load of 500 Thirst Aid Stations weighing as little as 184 kg (incl. pallet weight), but capable of processing 500,000 litres of drinking water. This is the equivalent amount of water to 694.4 pallets of single-use plastic water bottles (60 cases per pallet each containing 24 x 0.5L (16.9 oz) bottles) which could each weigh 720 kg (excl. pallet and plastic packaging weight).

Such huge logistical advantages continue to be of benefit as the equipment is deployed in the field. Transportation from hubs to disaster locations is greatly enhanced, and a carton of Thirst Aid Stations weighs an easily manageable 6 kg when being distributed downstream to recipient users.

When responding to emergencies, the Thirst Aid Station has been proven to be highly effective across widely varying disaster circumstances. When deployed following such as Typhoon Haiyan (Super Typhoon Yolanda) in the Philippines (2013/14) or Hurricane Matthew in Haiti (2016) the challenge was to provide safe drinking water following torrential rains that decimated water sanitation services and municipal provision of drinking water, threatening water borne disease in storm damaged areas.

Pure Hydration's Thirst Aid Station in use in the Philippines (L) and Haiti (R).

Pure Hydration’s Thirst Aid Station in use in the Philippines (L) and Haiti (R). Images courtesy of ShelterBox.

At the other end of the spectrum, ongoing drought in Somaliland (2017) meant that, as crops failed and livestock perished, normally nomadic and rural populations were forced into urban areas where scarce water resources were increasingly contaminated by waste, leading to the outbreak of cholera. ShelterBox’s provision of Thirst Aid Stations was of great help in stopping the spread of this preventable disease as authorities and aid agencies fought to remediate the situation.

In other circumstances, it is not nature that unleashes the potential for the spread of water borne disease.  During the fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo in 2016 the deliberate restriction and destruction of municipal water supply service placed millions at risk of disease from contaminated wells and other unprotected sources. Working through Hand In Hand for Syria, ShelterBox delivered Thirst Aid Stations to residents under threat.

The key to timely and appropriate response in the face of humanitarian emergencies is summarised by the well known “5 P’s” adage that “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”.  In avoidance of the “9 P’s” statement that “Poor Planning Promotes Poor Performance, Poor Performance Promotes Pain”, ShelterBox has once again demonstrated that it exemplifies a “12 P’s” modus operandi: “Purpose, Proper Prior Planning, Passion, Patience, Persistence, Perseverance and Professionalism Prevent Poor Performance.” It is an ethos that Pure Hydration shares, and is proud to support.

For further information on the Thirst Aid Station, and other dedicated drinking water purification systems for NGO emergency humanitarian relief operations, contact Pure Hydration today.

The Thirst Aid Station is simple for recipients to use without complex training

The Thirst Aid Station is simple for recipients to use without complex training.