Cast your minds back to late August this year. The television bulletins were filled with stories of hundreds of thousands of citizens in Kerala in Southern India, being washed out of their homes as a result of devastating floods.
As this was happening, thousands of miles away in south-west Cameroon, thousands of citizens were being displaced.
Their villages were burned down and violence perpetrated against them by the military under the control of the government.
These villagers had no option other than to live in the bush as their physical communities no longer existed. Did you even know this was happening?
Then press headlines once more took centre stage.
At the end of September, Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) hit the northern region of the Philippines, triggering flash floods, storm surges and wholesale landslides.
Over a quarter of a million people were displaced and more than 100 lost their lives.
Health centres were unable to function and so the situation progressively worsened.
Then, later in our two-month Aquabox odyssey, came the news that a massive earthquake and tsunami had hit Indonesia, centred around the city of Palu.
Almost 900 people lost their lives, many buried in massed graves to prevent the spread of disease.
Other stories emerged detailing suffering too harrowing to report here.
And finally, a little while after the aid was sent, we received news from the Yemen that our 60 Aquaboxes had arrived in Aden Port and were being distributed to Yemeni citizens.
We thought we had received all our Aquabox news so far this year, but this just goes to show that patience and determination by us and our partners pays off in the end.
At Aquabox, are extremely proud of what we achieve. We are a truly volunteer led charity with no ‘fat cat’ board of directors.”
In all these human tragedies there are common factors.
- The lives of individuals and whole communities can be destroyed in a frighteningly short time
- The health of citizens is immediately at risk
- Access to safe drinking water is of paramount importance.
In each of these human catastrophes, Aquabox was instrumental in providing meaningful, immediate and sustainable support.
We supplied water purification filters and other items of humanitarian aid, all of which was distributed, securely and appropriately by our long-standing partners on the ground.
Rotary International, in particular, was well placed for accurate assessment of need.
The water filters despatched from the Derbyshire Aquabox depot in the past two months alone have the capacity to provide drinking water to over 35,000 needy citizens in some of the world’s most devastated areas.
Since the filters can function for several years, this output may continue way beyond the immediate need.
The output of these filters could mean 1,700 litre plastic bottles per minute no longer enter our environment.
Without clean drinking water, people suffer from the most debilitating diseases and this significantly impacts on their ability to rebuild and regenerate their communities and local economies.
At Aquabox, we are extremely proud of what we achieve.
We are a truly volunteer led charity with no ‘fat cat’ board of directors.
Our 70-plus volunteers, many of them Rotary members, are our engine-room and, quite simply, without them we could not do what we do.
We rely totally on donations to continue our life-saving work. Can you help?
Rotary Wylde Green in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, is among clubs who have supported Aquabox, recently sending a donation of £500.
Their actions were prompted by the earthquake and tsunami which hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
The club also organised a collection at the Gracechurch Centre in Sutton Coldfield, inviting the public to see a demonstration water filtration system.
This raised a further £375.
Mark Wilkinson, Wylde Green Rotary’s International Chair said:
“Following the horrific earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia recently, we knew we had to get moving quickly to support Aquabox get humanitarian aid to those affected.
“I believe it goes to prove yet again that we must never underestimate the power of nature.
If you feel you are able to support us, details of how to do this can be found on our website.
Alternatively cheques, payable to Aquabox, can be sent to Aquabox, PO Box 5398, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 4ZP.
In particular, we would welcome corporate sponsorship.
Please contact us if this is of interest.
Find out more about our work on our Facebook page or come along to see us at work at our depot.
You can book in a visit through our website. We would welcome your interest.