TSUNAMI UPDATE: ITT's quick response in Sri Lanka yields quicker results

Jan. 24, 2005
With the WHO stressing speed, ITT Industries gets water treatment equipment up and running within days of arriving in Sri Lanka. CWEA donates over $15,000. Draeger Safety, meanwhile, works to collect contributions for children there and donates $130,000 toward relief efforts. Read as well about GE, USFilter, Zenon, Pall Corp., Arch Chemicals, Flowserve, Trojan Technologies, WaterChef, AirWater, etc. Also find links to related disaster relief organizations...

WHITE PLAINS, NY, Jan. 24, 2005 (Staff & Wire Reports) -- Working through Oxfam (www.oxfamamerica.org) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (www.ifrc.org), ITT Industries coordinated the various companies under its Fluid Technology business unit to mobilize and get volunteers to one front on the tsunami disaster relief effort quickly.

Among them was ITT China president Mark Steele who posted the following missive to the company website on Jan. 16 when the team got the first water treatment systems up and running in Sri Lanka:

"We've made it! We have reached the day where clean water is now flowing from ITT Industries-made water purification equipment to the people of Sri Lanka who's lives were devastated by the Asian Tsunami.

"Pictures cannot communicate the magnitude of devastation and despair this disaster has brought to these people. It's simply hard to imagine what it would be like to lose your loved ones, your home, your belongings, and in many cases your livelihood all in an instant and then wake up the next morning in a refugee camp depending on the kindness of others to survive.

"The most heartbreaking dimension of this disaster for many has been the impact this has had on the children in the region -- many of who, in a large proportion to the total, have died in this disaster. Sadly, a great number of those that did survive have lost one or both parents and now languish in refugee camps. For the younger children, a visitor would almost not realize they were tsunami survivors -- they play, they laugh and have fun with others their age seemingly oblivious to the situation. It's the older children that are sadly aware of what has happened and are now confronting the reality of loss and sorrow.

"Three weeks after the tsunami devastation, people are struggling grimly to get on with their lives. In the coastal areas, people scour the sands looking for belongings left behind in the receding waters. They pile debris into sections, separating bricks and tile from rubble with hope of reconstructing what was once their home. It is here that families cling to one another under make shift shelters with only memories of days past.

"Sunrise came on Sunday morning with our convoy traveling from Kantale to Kinniyai -- passing through jungles, coconut groves and then through rice paddies as we approached the coast. As we drove into the tsunami affected area, we were greeted by people who had approached the roadside with curiosity as to what we were bringing. At 10:00 a.m. we established our first treatment site at a contaminated well in the fishing village of Kinniyai. Within 90 minutes, under the leadership of Melvin Gilbert and Jim Shickle, fresh water was flowing from our system into water trucks, water tanks and straight into the water receptacles of local villagers.

"The outpouring of relief aid and support from the world has been tremendous. As part of this, the ITT team here in Sri Lanka have witnessed first hand the smiles and gratitude of the Sri Lankan people. So, in our small way, we in ITT Industries have made a difference -- a difference for the people of Sri Lanka, and a difference in this world as it recovers from the biggest disaster in living memory.

"In the coming days, the team here will be making deployments of our equipment to affected areas south of Trincomalee along Sri Lanka's east coast - areas hardest his by the tsunami."

Steele was the first member of the ITT on-site deployment team to arrive in Sri Lanka on Jan. 12. As he worked to coordinate the equipment shipments to Sri Lanka coast, he was joined by four employees from ITT's PCI Membranes business -- Melvin Gilbert, Jim Shickle, Darren Reed and Rob Wardlaw -- who served as trainers on the water purifying units and chlorinators through Jan. 26.

In all, ITT (www.itt.com) shipped over 80 portable ST1 water filtration systems and 10 RO systems to the disaster area. Combined, they're capable of treating water for over 800,000 people a day. The units are diesel powered -- enabling them to operate in many areas without electricity -- and simple to operate and maintain, as well as providing the level of treatment necessary to combat waterborne diseases such as cholera and giardiasis. It also shipped 200 gas-powered chlorinators suitable for emergency use. In addition, it made a donation of $500,000 to the general relief effort.

CWEA donates $2 a member for long-term tsunami relief efforts
The California Water Environment Association (CWEA) Board of Directors approved a special contribution of $2 per member, or a total of $15,400, to Water for People (WFP), an international nonprofit development organization, for its Asian Tsunami Long-Term Development Fund.

Says CWEA Board President Steven Agor, "Clean water and proper sanitation are essential to the prevention of disease, and protection of public health. Instead of providing short-term solutions, Water for People is helping the tsunami survivors set up sustainable, locally maintained water and sanitation systems." Added Agor, "Water for People is a charitable organization that is working toward a world where all people have access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and basic health services so no child dies from a water-related illness, a goal CWEA strongly supports. We're encouraging our members to donate as well, and hope that organizations similar to CWEA in other states will follow suit."

CWEA (www.cwea.org) is a not-for-profit association of 7,700-plus professionals in the wastewater industry committed to keeping California's water clean. CWEA trains and certifies wastewater professionals, disseminates information, and promotes sound policies to benefit society though protection and enhancement of the water environment.

Draeger Safety Inc. focuses relief efforts on Sri Lankan children's needs
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh's Draeger Safety Inc. and its parent company Drägerwerk AG, in Luebeck, Germany, reported Jan. 20 that they were combining their efforts to help the tens of thousands of victims affected by the earthquake and tsunami in South Asia.

Draeger Safety (www.draeger-safety.com), a manufacturer of safety equipment, has donated 5,000 face masks to Sri Lanka and 5,000 to Indonesia. The Pittsburgh office of Draeger Safety has pledged to donate Piccola dust masks to the Pittsburgh Sri Lankan Community Tsunami Relief Effort. Dräger Safety in Luebeck is currently scheduling further face mask shipments from Germany into the region and has also donated US$130,000 to the Red Cross. Half of these funds will be delivered as medical equipment while leaving an open-ended offer to the Red Cross for any other safety products needs which the company will deliver as soon as requested.

Draeger Safety's Pittsburgh office has a direct link to the Sri Lankan relief effort through its Breathing Gas Systems manager Rohan Fernando, who was born in Sri Lanka and still has family there. At Draeger Safety, he's active developing new products and concepts for the military diving forces and also for the firefighter/first responder communities. In conjunction with the Pittsburgh Sir Lankan Community, Fernando began a donation drive within the Draeger Pittsburgh office to organize relief efforts with a focus on getting aid directly to the victims with no overhead costs. This attempt within Draeger Safety is specifically targeting children's needs.

These donations will be an ongoing endeavor with two immediate current action items. The first is to collect funds to disperse to grass root organizations working directly with the victims. The second, which has Draeger Safety's 200 Pittsburgh employees busy, is to collect goods to help the children. These items will be delivered to a New Jersey Buddhist Temple with connections with the Sir Lankan group, as it's made previous arrangements with a shipping line to transport all these donations to Sri Lanka free of charge.

Fernando will be delivering the goods to New Jersey along with some members of the Pittsburgh Sri Lankan group. Those who would like to donate to the tsunami victims via this Pittsburgh organization please contact: www.cs.cmu.edu/~guna/pgh.lk.

GE mobilizes resources in 16 time zones for efforts in Indonesia, Thailand
General Electric announced Jan. 7 it donated through Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Assist International (www.assistinternational.org) a GE Mobile Water unit that can generate up to 432,000 gpd of potable water for relief efforts in Banda Aceh, Indonesia -- where 60% of the city nearest the earthquake was destroyed. Later, it said a second tractor trailer-mounted unit from GE Water & Process Technologies was sent as well. The 75-ton shipment from a GE facility in Dubai, U.A.E., was airlifted on the world's largest aircraft, the Antonov An-225 -- originally built for the Soviet space program.

Designed to purify up to 600 gpm, the two mobile water units -- each of which includes filtration and reverse osmosis systems -- can provide potable water for up to 220,000 people daily. In addition, GE Energy donated a mobile fleet of generators and engineers to power the mobile units. More than 50 GE scientists, engineers and project managers have participated in the effort.

Likewise, GE also donated three water purification systems to the Thai Red Cross. Together the two are working to deliver 66,000 gpd of potable water to aid an estimated 5,000 people in the three largest Thai Red Cross shelter centers located in the Pang Nga, Phuket and Kao Lak regions.

Overall, GE said it's contributed over $10 million toward the relief effort, including $2.4 million in employee donations as of Jan. 6 that are being matched by the GE Foundation. Separately, the foundation pledged $1 million to the Red Cross and $100,000 to UNICEF toward disaster relief efforts.

Siemens fast tracks delivery of seven systems to Thailand through USFilter
Siemens made its key donation through its USFilter subsidiary's Australian unit. Memcor group, working with Siemens Thailand office and Loxley Public Co., its distributor in Thailand, plans to contribute seven treatment units, which combine its membrane and disinfection technology. Each unit is capable of converting raw water into 26,400 gpd -- 184,800 total gpd -- of water fit for drinking and other potable uses.

USFilter was building six of the units on a fast-track schedule at its Memcor plant in Windsor, Australia. According to plant manager Bruce Biltoft all of the units were to be shipped from Jan. 25-Feb. 8. The seventh unit is already located in Thailand where it was being prepared as a demonstration unit prior to the tsunami. As soon as it is tested and commissioned, it was to be relocated to the disaster area.

Once the water treatment units are in Thailand, Siemens and Loxley will fit them out with ancillary components -- such as covers or piping -- that may be required depending on where the units will be deployed. At this moment, the companies are working in parallel to have all necessary components available so that final assembly, installation, and operation of the units can occur as rapidly as possible, Biltoft said.

As of Jan. 11, Siemens also had provided over $1.3 million to relief efforts, while its employees contributed $444,496.43 through Siemens Caring Hands in Germany (with more than 3,350 donors participating). In Thailand, Siemens employees also donated over 1 million baht [US$25,967.14].

Other water industry efforts broad-based but results-oriented
Canada's Zenon Environmental teamed up with Eureka Forbes, a leading water company in India, and the Christian relief organization World Vision (www.worldvision.org) to send an initial shipment of 54 Homespring water filtration units for South Asia tsunami disaster recovery efforts. The systems, which were bound for Chennai, India, and Sri Lanka, will provide safe drinking water for up to 350,000 people. Incorporating Zenon's ZeeWeed ultrafiltration membranes, each unit can produce up to 7,000 gpd of potable water. The Oakville, Ontario, company's larger water purification systems, which the Canadian Army has used for years, also are being deployed via Canada's Disaster Assistance Relief Team (DART).

Pall Corp., of East Hills, N.Y., donated an RO water filtration system capable of providing safe drinking water to 60,000 people a day for the tsunami relief efforts. It replaces a water treatment system that was destroyed in the Aceh province of Sumatra, Indonesia. The system, which uses Pall's Disc Tube Modules, converts very poor quality water into potable water in a single step without pretreatment. The company also provided technical training to Technisches Hilfswerk, the German governmental disaster relief organization, which will operate the $75,000 mobile system made available from Pall's operations in Hamburg, Germany.

Arch Chemicals is working with the Water Relief Network to provide its HTH chlorine-based water sanitizing products to help the survivors of the tsunami. These chemicals are used to sanitize drinking water as well as food-preparation surfaces and equipment. The network is a partnership of the global chlorine industry, the American Red Cross and other international relief agencies. Arch's granular calcium hypochlorite product also is the sanitizing agent in millions of drinking water treatment sachets a major, global consumer products company is donating to aid the disaster relief effort. And Arch encouraged employees to donate to any nonprofit disaster-relief agencies aiding the tsunami relief effort by promising to match, up to $10,000, through a corporate donation to the American Red Cross.

Dallas-based Flowserve Corp. on behalf of its 14,000 employees around the world, pledged up to $150,000 to the Red Cross for relief efforts in Southeast Asia. Of that, $50,000 was a corporate donation and the company promised to match up to $50,000 raised by its employees. Operating in 56 countries, it produces engineered and industrial pumps, seals and valves as well as offering a range of related flow management services.

Trojan Technologies, of London, Ontario, Canada, also committed to sending product to the region -- although because of the nature of its ultraviolet disinfection equipment, it may wait until later when more basic infrastructure is in place and it's more useful. Trojan spokeswoman Martha Nelsen said, "We've been in touch with a number of nonprofit organizations and don't want to send equipment there just to have it sit and not get used or just be in the way. But we've been very active working behind the scenes to provide some support." She noted Trojan's corporate parent, Danaher also has contributed to the Red Cross and committed other of its companies such as water testing and analytical instrumentation specialist Hach Company, of Loveland, Colo., to provide additional equipment toward the relief effort.

Smaller firms WaterChef Inc., of Glen Head, N.Y., and AirWater Corp., of Miami, were donating equipment as well -- respectively, two PureSafe Water Stations that treat up to 15,000 gpd and 20 AirWater Machines that extract water from humidity in the air. The AirWater units, producing 20-5,000 liters a day, were destined for Sri Lanka, Thailand and India. In addition, the company announced an order Jan. 19 for 270 units to be sent to Sri Lanka. And Air Water president Michael J. Zwebner also pledged $25,000 to general relief efforts. The WaterChef units were purchased by an Indian family living in New York for relief efforts. Later, individual WaterChef shareholders also purchased an additional three water station units, with a market value of $230,000, for tsunami disaster relief efforts.

WaterHealth International, of Lake Forest, Calif., plans to place 50 emergency relief systems in Sri Lanka through a cooperative effort between the International Finance Corp., the Sri Lanka Red Cross, and donations received via Global Giving (www.globalgiving.com). The IFC, a member of the World Bank, is funding up to $250,000 in matching funds to be raised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce through Global Giving. The UV WaterWorks disinfection units will provide safe drinking water to meet the short term needs of up to 100,000 displaced Sri Lankans. WHI also is placing three community water systems for tsunami relief in Tamil, Nadu, India. These systems have been purchased by Applied Materials and will be situated in shelters and temporary camps to meet the immediate needs of nearly 20,000 displaced people.

Escondido, Calif., based Pure-O-Tech Inc. -- which manufactures a portable water treatment system called the Enviro-Wash -- happened to have a unit at the Anna University in Chennai, India, to demonstrate its effectiveness, when the tsunami struck. The ozone disinfection unit can provide the daily potable water needs for about 5,000 people. Company R&D vice president Ben St. Onge was being sent, thanks to the contribution of the California law firm of Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps, to find areas where additional systems can be set up. Law firm employees raised $5,000, which was matched by the firm, toward that effort.

And Wisconsin Pharmacal, a small company in Jackson, Wis., and one of the world's leading producers of iodine-based water purification tablets donated more than 10,000 bottles of EPA-approved Potable Aqua water purification tablets to relief organizations aiding victims affected by the Asian earthquake and tsunami disaster. It stated it also would match any tablets purchased specifically for donation to tsunami relief efforts.

Lastly, both the American Water Works Association and Water Environment Federation were encouraging water industry professionals to make donations to Water For People (www.waterforpeople.org), an international nonprofit organization that focuses on long-term development programs to improve water quality in impoverished areas around the world. The WEF Board of Trustees also approved a $25,000 contribution Jan. 18 to WFP to support rebuilding of water and sanitation infrastructure in affected areas.

Other emergency relief organizations contacts
To assist in the humanitarian response to the tsunami disaster, feel free to contact the following:
-- UNICEF: www.unicefusa.org or call 1-800-4UNICEF (86-4233).
-- American Red Cross: www.redcross.org or 1-800-HELP-NOW (435-7669)
-- Americares: www.americares.org or call AmeriCares directly at 1-800-486-HELP (4357)
-- CARE: www.care.org or 1-800-422-7385
-- Save the Children: www.savethechildren.org or 1-800-728-3843
-- Doctors Without Borders: www.doctorswithoutborders.org
-- The Network for Good: www.networkforgood.org

Donations can be specified for "South Asia Tsunami Relief Effort," but remember that a number of other areas of the world also may continue to need assistance as resources are redirected to this region. In that case, "Where the Need is Greatest" might be appropriate.


The above article was culled from items posted to PRNewswire, BusinessWire, MarketWire as well as personal interviews and various other sources.


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