Safe drinking water for climate change-vulnerable Aurora villagers

BALER, Aurora Residents in the rural communities of Aurora will no longer have to worry for clean and safe drinking water especially in times of calamities.

This, as the project called SOURCe Philippines, which stands for Supply Of Unpolluted Clean Drinking Water to Rural Communities, was formally launched Thursday at the San Luis Municipal Hall.

Aida Baltazar, associate director of Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), said the SOURCe project will target to reach the climate change vulnerable areas in this province that need water sanitation to avoid contamination and sickness.

She said that the Philippines is surrounded by water, yet one out of 10 people in the country has no access to clean and safe drinking water.

This problem, which especially affects children, is one of the leading causes of waterborne diseases, such as diarrhea, typhoid and cholera.

Baltazar said the key intervention is a water filter that purifies water coming from such sources as streams, lakes, artesian wells, and rainwater.

She said that more than 2,000 water filters will be provided free to rural households, public schools, barangay day care and health centers in Aurora province.

Workshops will also be conducted in the communities to increase awareness and adoption of water, sanitation and hygiene practices.

On account of its geographic location, the coastal province of Aurora is at a high risk for flooding and landslides due to frequent typhoons. Data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council indicate that in the last three years, a total of nine major tropical storms hit the province, affecting 51,000 families or 230,000 individuals.

The project kickoff for SOURCe Philippines in San Luis was led by Mayor Mariano Tangson and Vice Mayor Edwin Pineda.

Also present were Rodolfo T. Marzan, president of the Association of Barangay Captains of San Luis; Dr. Roalilia Tangson, municipal health officer; and Ernesto delaTorre, Department of Education district school supervisor.

In San Luis alone, some 1,600 families will be benefitted of household filters and 67 community filters of the said project.

We are also set to meet Mayor Shierwin C. Taay of Dingalan this March and also in the capital town of Aurora in Baler to discuss about the project, Baltazar added.

SOURCe Philippines is being implemented through a public-private partnership between DEG, a member of the KfWBankengruppe (KfW banking group); Swiss company Vestergaard, which developed LifeStraw water filters to provide clean drinking water to rural communities; and ASSIST, a non-profit organization focused on capacity building to address sustainable development challenges in Asia.

Vestergaard area manager for Asia, Saurabh Chhabra, flew in from India for the launch and conducted a training session to orient barangay and local government representatives on the proper installation and maintenance of the LifeStraw household and community filters.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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