Many survivors of the big earthquake in April and May are still living in tents. Photo: humedica
“But who, in fact, is Paul?”
Also five months after the heavy earthquake in Nepal, the situation of many victims of this catastrophe improves only slowly. The government and many national and international help organizations have already started a number of help projects. humedica, too, has been present on-site with a team of two coordinators and has supported manifold projects. Despite this, the situation is still dramatic in the remote mountain villages, which can hardly be reached.
In the regions which have been the hardest hit up to 95 percent of all houses have been destroyed and the people live in refugee camps. Living together in tents on minimal space is difficult, and it has even worsened by the monsoon with heavy rainfalls and high temperatures.
Besides the difficult living conditions, especially the drinking water supply is a continual problem. In some of the refugee camps they only dispose of surface water or there isn’t any regulated access to drinking water at all. The number of diseases, mostly diarrhea diseases, due to contaminated drinking water has continually increased over the past months.
That’s the reason why humedica, in collaboration with IOM (International Organization of Migration), has identified the neediest camps and has sent out PAUL from Germany, to help the people. But who, in fact, is PAUL?
The blue, portable box named PAUL (short for Portable Aqua Unit for Lifesaving) is a portable water filtering system, which had been developed by the university Kassel. PAUL can supply about 400 people a day with 1,200 liters of drinking water. The membrane filter not only removes visible dirt, but also germs and viruses causing diarrhea.
The journey of the five PAULs, which have been donated by service clubs from Allgäu, has been difficult. Our coordinators needed several attempts to bring the filter systems by four-wheel drive jeeps to their destinations. Because of the lasting rain, many streets were blocked by landslides and many places were cut off the outside world for several weeks.
So the people’s joy was even bigger when our coordinators finally arrived. As PAUL is immediately ready for use and the handling is very easy and explained with pictures, the water could be tested directly.
Meanwhile, the blue boxes are on five different places and are producing drinking water in a clinic in Jalbire, a school in Solukhumbo and in three refugee camps in the regions Gati, Chautara and Sangachok.
The direct access to drinking water has much improved the people’s living conditions: diseases could be contained and hour-long walks looking for drinking water are no longer necessary.