Access to clean water limited

Severely restricted access to safe/clean drinking water has been one of the biggest issues having plagued many earthquake affected rural communities in the aftermath of the earthquake.
In response to this environmental issue, the Emergency Disaster Restoration Team (EDRT) is now exploring the use of water purifiers to minimise the long term cost and environmental impact of relief operations.
EDRT controller, Dr William Hamblin said on Tuesday that preliminary water testing in the Kikori area is already being carried out by the United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination,alongside the PNG National Department of Health and the National Fisheries Authority.
He added that testing will also push further into other affected areas, before purification units will be purchased.
“We’ve been supplying it as bottled water which cannot be sustained in the longer term, because it would be an environmental disaster if we have five billion plastic bottles out there.
Water is quite heavy and therefore expensive to transport,” said Dr Hamblin.
“We’re looking at producing potable water at some of these locations.
We’ve got the quotes for those and we’re waiting for a preliminary report from the UN water experts who have been going around with the Department of Health doing test.
So if there are any heavy metals found, the water purifiers will take those out,” he said.
“A lot of areas have got thatched roofs so you can’t use that to collect water so you’ve got to have a galvanised roof or a tarp or something to hold the water,” he said.

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