Equipment Manufacturers Respond to Tsunami Relief Efforts

It has been two weeks since the devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami took place in southern Asia. Over 150,000 deaths have so far been reported...

by Dawn C. Kristof, WWEMA President

Whoever is spared personal pain must feel himself called to help in diminishing the pain of others.
- Albert Schweitzer

It has been two weeks since the devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami took place in southern Asia. Over 150,000 deaths have so far been reported with another 25,000 missing in the 11-country strike zone. Access to safe drinking water supplies and prevention of disease caused by inadequate sewage and waste disposal still remains the #2 most critical priority, following medical and surgical treatment of injuries, as reported by the World Health Organization.

Eerily, this is the first day that our local newspaper, The Washington Post, has carried no article on its front page about the ongoing relief operations. One can only hope that as the initial shock subsides and life returns to normal for those of us not directly affected by this greatest natural disaster of our time, there will not be a lessening of will to reach out and lend a hand to our suffering neighbors around the world.

There is no lack of will on the part of our Association members - the manufacturers of water and wastewater equipment and their associates - who have stepped up to the plate and are making contributions to the relief efforts on a number of fronts. Here is a sample of what is being done:

Infilco Degremont (Richmond, VA) and its parent, SUEZ, are matching employee giving, repairing existing water facilities and supplying drinking water to the populations isolated in the northern part of the Island of Sumatra, one of the worst hit regions. It is also preparing to send two mini emergency water stations, power pumps, supply ducts and collapsible tanks for use in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

USFilter (Warrendale, PA) and its parent, Siemens, have launched an employee donation drive, being matched by the company - with total aid exceeding $1.3 million. The company is also using its local presence in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia to provide technical support and mobilize drinking water units to help restore water supplies.

ITT Sanitaire (Brown Deer, WI), and its parent, ITT Industries, are donating 60 portable, diesel powered water treatment units capable of treating more than 100,000 gallons of water every hour. Gas-fed chlorinators are also being shipped to relief organizers operating in the region. The company is further donating $500,000 to agencies supporting the relief effort.

Severn Trent Services (Ft. Washington, PA) is coordinating with its Malaysia office in donating 10 reverse osmosis purification units and is encouraging its employees to make donations through the Red Cross, UNICEF and other aid organizations serving the affected regions.

Parkson Corporation (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) was personally affected by the disaster with one of its employees having lost both of his parents while they were vacationing in Phuket. The company and its parent, Axel Johnson, are each matching employee contributions sent to the International Red Cross in memory of these two individuals. The company also plans to build a complete drinking water plants for one of the villages affected by the disaster.

Fairbanks Morse Pump (Kansas City, KS), and its parent, Pentair, is conducting a matching gift program, allowing employees to contribute up to $1,000 to select organizations and matching it double-for-double. The company has also shipped water treatment equipment to affected areas in coordination with the Indian Naval Command and other organizations in India.

Hach Company (Loveland, CO), and its parent, Danaher, has made a significant contribution to the American Red Cross and has donated water testing kits and purification equipment to the region.

Other member companies that are matching their employee contributions include JWC Environmental (Costa Mesa, CA), the W.C. Weil Company (Allison Park, PA), and Flowserve (Taneytown, MD). Aquapoint (New Bedford, MA) contributed to the Save the Children Fund, Wet-Tec (New Paltz, NY) to Doctors Without Borders, and Instrument & Supply Inc. (Hot Springs, AR) to the Catholic Relief Fund.

These are but a few examples of generous offerings being made by WWEMA member companies. In this time of great suffering, it is heartening to know that we are all one community willing to support each other in time of crisis. May this spirit of cooperation sustain us in the future.

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