SkyHydrants have been deployed in various circumstances and all kinds of environments. They must be adaptable and durable to serve the community’s needs swiftly and reliably. Nowhere is it more apparent than in crisis zones.
In the past year, SkyHydrants have been delivered to assist in humanitarian crises such as the war in Ukraine and the ongoing conflict in Myanmar. In these circumstances, it is logistically challenging and potentially dangerous for the ground teams to deliver safe water installations.
Disaster Aid Europe (DAE) is a Czech Republic-based, non-government organisation and a project of Rotary Clubs worldwide. DAE has been responding to the humanitarian crisis since the Ukraine conflict started. The DAE response trailer has made several trips to the affected areas with humanitarian aid and safe water filters, including SkyHydrants.
In March 2022, DAE made an urgent drop to Uzhorod taking the first SkyHydrant GEM to Ukraine. The first stop was Kosice, Slovakia, to visit the Rotary District 2240 Humanitarian hub and to train Slovak Rotarians on the SkyHydrant GEM. Irena Brichta of DAE confirmed that the team had to travel twice through the Slovak/Ukraine border to reach Uzhorod, Ukraine after which they undertook the training of RC Uzhorod Skala Rotarians. SkyHydrant Rapid Response Kits were handed over to local teams for further distribution and installation. These SkyHydrants were agreed to be placed in local rural communities.
SkyHydrant Rapid Response Kit includes a plastic barrel (serves as the packaging as well as the potential head tank for the installation), SkyHydrant GEM with the plumbing fittings pre-installed, hoses and other required fittings, a pre-filter and all the hand tools needed for the installation.
The ongoing conflict in Myanmar has created another humanitarian crisis of significant proportion. The country is still at a crisis point 18 months after the coup, and the World Food Program estimates that 11 million people are facing acute food insecurity while a total of 1.38 million people have been displaced. In a massive and amazing effort, Safe Water for Every Child – Myanmar has deployed over 22 SkyHydrants since the coup to aid the local communities.
Earlier this year, SkyJuice was contacted regarding options to fix a damaged SkyHydrant with a bullet hole. The military regime is brutal and persistent in pursuing refugees. In 2021, this SkyHydrant escaped airstrikes in a remote area in Myanmar that damaged the nearby school and medical centre. This year the same unit was hit and damaged. After assessing that the filter fibres were not damaged, a simple plastic weld was the easiest option to repair the unit, and the local Karen team could carry out the work.
Fleur Maidment, Founder and CEO of Safe Water for Every Child – Myanmar, described the situation on-ground. “In many places across the country, aid workers have been targeted by the junta, and some have been killed. Videos have circulated showing ambulance workers being targeted for helping injured people. For our emergency work, we focus on the largest number of people, the accessibility of locations, and the safety of our team. Since the coup, our work has gone from community development to humanitarian response, but the longevity of the Skyhydrants ensures they can be placed with communities when peace returns.”