AmeriCares begins water purification projects in Sri Lanka

Improved systems will provide clean water for 46,000 people...

STAMFORD, CT, April 18, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- AmeriCares, the nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid agency, is launching a $1,000,000 water purification program in Sri Lanka this week that will improve the water quality and provide permanent sources of clean water for more than 46,000 survivors of last December's devastating tsunami.

On April 19 at 1:47 a.m. an AmeriCares airlift will depart from Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., carrying more than 50,000 tons of water equipment. The flight will be met in Colombo, Sri Lanka by an AmeriCares water emergency team already on the ground.

AmeriCares water initiative covers six different projects in three of the worst affected areas of Sri Lanka: Galle, Ampara and Batticaloa. It includes improving the water quality and increasing the volume at a 700-bed hospital in Ampara; as well as installing water purification systems in reservoirs contaminated with toxic algae and providing filters and training for the systems at four different locations that are currently home to more than 35,000 people living in displaced camps.

The AmeriCares projects are being undertaken with the support of Tempest Environmental Systems of Durham, NC, a leading designer and manufacturer of water purification systems. Dr. Roddy Tempest, CEO of Tempest Environmental Systems, has been consulting with AmeriCares on this project and will oversee the installation of these comprehensive treatment systems throughout the project.

"The expertise of Dr. Tempest, leveraged with the strong support and collaboration we are receiving from Sri Lanka's government, will enable us to quickly make a difference in the availability of pure, safe water to displaced survivors who are still struggling to return to normalcy," said AmeriCares President and CEO Curt Welling.

The groundwork for this project was laid in January, when AmeriCares sent its water engineering team to Sri Lanka for a 10-day needs assessment. Working with Sri Lanka's National Water Supply and Drainage Board, as well as other relief agencies, the AmeriCares team gathered data on the quality of water by testing more than 200 sites.

"The water purification projects we have identified and are installing in Sri Lanka will have a major impact on the public health and quality of life for the survivors of the December 2004 tsunami disaster. With up to 80% of infectious diseases being waterborne, AmeriCares' proactive Clean Water Program will have a lasting impact on the protection and improvement of community health in this country for many years to come," said Dr. Roddy Tempest, CEO of Tempest Environmental Systems.

These latest efforts in Sri Lanka are only part of AmeriCares' comprehensive relief program in the tsunami-affected countries. Between December 30, 2004 and January 20, 2005, AmeriCares sent seven airlifts to Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India, carrying aid valued at more than $12 million. Currently, AmeriCares relief teams on the ground in these countries are working with local partners to begin the rehabilitation of healthcare infrastructure, such as hospitals, clinics and laboratories.

To learn more about AmeriCares work in Asia and other areas around the world, log onto or call AmeriCares directly at 1-800-486-HELP.

AmeriCares is a nonprofit humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization that supports long-term medical assistance programs and provides emergency relief in the U.S. and around the world. In the U.S., AmeriCares provides basic medical services for the uninsured, refurbishes the homes of the physically and financially disadvantaged and gives a summer camping experience to inner-city children affected by HIV/AIDS. Since it was established in 1982, AmeriCares has distributed more than $4 billion in humanitarian aid to 137 countries.


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