People caught in the midst of famines, wars or shipwrecks often survive for weeks without food, shelter and medical care, but the human body is only equipped to last a few days without water. Although most of us take this precious resource for granted, for many around the world water means life — and a lack of safe drinking water can result in death.
Over 60 percent of the human body consists of water. Every organ and living cell is dependent on a continual supply of water, water which we are constantly losing. Even simple acts like breathing and sweating drain our bodies of water and, unless replenished, dehydration sets in. After two days, the skin begins to turn blue and organs begin to deteriorate. If temperatures are high, humans without water go into a steep spiral and die in 2-3 days.
Since our bodies cannot survive without it, millions of people around the world have no choice but to drink water that they know is likely to make them sick. Children without access to safe water suffer the most. A hospital administrator in the mountains of Haiti told me that half of his hospital beds are filled with children and elderly individuals suffering from water-borne disease. Can you imagine giving your child water that you know is contaminated?
Of all the things that Operation Blessing does to help the poor, I can’t think of anything that has greater impact than helping people gain access to safe drinking water. The impact on public health, as we strive to break generational cycles of poverty, is immeasurable. Traditionally, Operation Blessing only drilled wells. But in recent years, ground water aquifers have become contaminated in almost all countries without municipal sanitation sewers.
So we have shifted our strategy, and rather than finding new water by drilling new wells, in many cases we now invest in equipment that turns bad water into safe water. Once we provide safe water equipment, we train pastors and community health workers in how to maintain it. Every time we do this, the community takes a quantum leap toward better and healthier lives for everyone.
I believe that in order to have the greatest impact on the alleviation of water-borne suffering, we need to be aware of the very latest technology that enables us to filter or disinfect drinking water, both with and without electricity, in a manner that empowers locals to continue the purification of their drinking water without outside intervention. Much of the water purification equipment used in humanitarian efforts around the world today is ineffective, and the options that work are too expensive and difficult to maintain in remote areas. Sadly, the good intentions of many organizations fail to provide safe water in a sustainable manner.
Operation Blessing is changing that trend. We have transitioned to using technology like the SE200, H2gO, Sanilac-6 and a product named OASIS that we are developing in partnership with one of the world’s most respected water experts. Our investments in leading edge technologies and equipment is paying off in a big way, and we are able to impact far more people than in years past. We need your continued support in our safe water efforts to change even more lives!