For World Water Day, Samaritan’s Purse celebrates communities restored and lives changed as we provide the essential gift of water in Jesus’ Name.
Where most of us live it’s easy to assume we’ll wake up with enough water to bathe, to cook, and, most important, to drink. But this is not the case for hundreds of millions of people.
Many families and communities around the world can’t count on a water supply for next month, or next week, or even tomorrow. Helping to change this reality is a privilege as we bring the life-saving gift of clean water in Jesus’ Name.
Water insecurity almost caused an epidemic along Haiti’s southern peninsula after Hurricane Matthew struck last year.
Only a few days after the sky cleared Samaritan’s Purse medical teams reported cases of the deadly disease cholera. The storm had mixed dirty water with clean and had destroyed infrastructure in many towns.
No clean water was available after the storm, so desperate populations became ill from drinking what they found in streams and stagnant pools. The fallout was swift, as was the illness—cholera cases skyrocketed in many communities.
“I was scared because I thought I was going to die,” said 56-year-old Jean Emilue Saintil, who came to us wasted away from fluid loss due to cholera. “Without you I would be dead.”
Our Cholera Treatment Centers saved lives, and we helped prevent further illness by equipping homes with water treatment kits and re-establishing communities’ access to clean water sources.
A Daily, Life-or-Death Struggle
The daily struggle for clean water is literally a matter of life and death. And Betty James can tell you how it’s made worse by the armed conflict in her country.
Displaced by war in South Sudan, Betty and her six children first arrived at a refugee resettlement area in Uganda where she had to fetch stagnant water from a nearby pond.
Then Samaritan’s Purse showed up and stationed a safe water tank 50 meters away from her home.
“I do not have to walk a long distance to fetch water. It’s near my house and my children can fetch it easily, too,” said Betty.
The young mother now helps lead the water user committee to keep these precious water sources clean of contamination.
We Can Change This
Walking for miles a day to access clean water is no longer a necessity for the communities we’ve helped. Here’s a look at the impact we saw in 2016:
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Projects were established across 14 countries and five continents.
Samaritan’s Purse helped provide more than 400,000 people with safe drinking water through more than 275 water points worldwide.
We equipped communities with proper hygiene and sanitation training and equipment that prevents future contamination and illness. Our staff have distributed some 80,000 hygiene kits to equip more than 220,000 people.
Samaritan’s Purse in Action
Our international staff assist communities in water crisis by providing equipment, supplies, and training, and by initiating WASH programs. Here are the ways we help:
Freshwater Wells and Boreholes. Samaritan’s Purse works with communities to install and rehabilitate hand-dug wells and boreholes.
Household Filters. These concrete filters use layers of sand and gravel to remove harmful microorganisms and pollutants to make murky water clean for drinking.
Hygiene. We conduct workshops that focus on personal hygiene, hand-washing with soap, food preparation, household sanitation, and proper waste disposal.
Sanitation. By building latrines we help to reduce the spread of waterborne disease and prevent diarrhea, one of the leading causes of death among children.
Water Protection. Capping natural springs and protecting rainwater catchments ensures that a community will have a consistent source of clean water.
Water Treatment Packets. These packets are often used in emergency situations, when large populations have been displaced and have immediate water needs. The powdered mixture contained in each packet removes harmful microorganisms and suspended matter, making water clean and eliminating waterborne disease.
Community Filtration Systems. In emergency settings—say, right after a hurricane or earthquake—one system can purify up to 10,000 gallons per day, enough to provide for the daily needs of 2,500 people.
Through these tangible opportunities to provide clean water, many people have heard of the Living Water, Jesus Christ, and the eternal hope and power of the Gospel.