World Refugee Day, on 20 June each year, celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their homes to escape conflict or persecution. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that, by the end of 2022, for the first time in recorded history, the number of people forcibly displaced will reach 108.4 million, with over 35.3 million refugees. This high number of displaced people has created a new, additional challenge; the refugee water crisis.
Safe Water is a considerable challenge for refugee communities and local authorities alike. UNHCR estimates that more than half of the world’s refugee camps do not have enough water to fulfil the recommended 20 litres per person daily.
Safe water deployment in these circumstances is not without its challenges. As many of our on-ground partners report, the initial assessment to identify the most useful location is one of the first challenges, but with a good network of local knowledge and assistance, easier to overcome.
It can also be a logistical challenge to transport the technology and other materials to the location. We spoke to Irena Brichta of Disaster Aid Europe last year about their SkyHydrant deployments to Ukraine. She described how the DAE 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. At this point, it was vital to have capable and trustworthy local partners, as the SkyHydrant Rapid Response Kits were handed over to local teams for further distribution and installation in Ukraine.
Great and effective communication during the installation phase and ongoing maintenance is essential. This will ensure the success of the project and sustainable benefits for the community.
Safe Water Myanmar is our on-ground partner in both Myanmar and Thailand. For the past five years, they have deployed SkyHydrants for communities and displaced people’s camps. Fleur Maidment from Safe Water Myanmar advises, “Since September 2018, when we carried out our first SkyHydrant installations in Myanmar, we have installed 23 SkyHydrants in the area. The first unit was installed in an IDP camp in September 2018 and is a great example of a successful installation and long-term sustainable operation. The same caretaker is still there, and the system is going strong. There is an influx of people to that internally displaced people’s camp, and this SkyHydrant is vital in ensuring access to safe, clean water.”
All the SkyJuice safe water technology is designed for emergency circumstances. While the SkyHydrant is our flagship water filtration system, both the Squirt and the Responder are targeted for refugee circumstances, especially when mobility and instant response are required.
Some of the locations where our on-ground partners work with displaced people
Ethiopia – Arche Nova
Haiti, Nicaragua, Turkey – Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB)
Indonesia, Syria – Islamic Relief
Sri Lanka, Turkey, Pakistan – OXFAM
Ukraine, Lebanon – Disaster Aid Europe
Myanmar, Thailand – Safe Water Myanmar
The following images are from Myanmar. Courtesy of Safe Water for Myanmar.