Water Mission has sent emergency water treatment equipment, water purification materials and engineers to other countries, including this photo from its efforts in Ukraine, to provide safe water | Photo provided

Charleston-based nonprofit Water Mission this week deployed a disaster assistance response team to Turkey in response to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the country early Monday morning. 

The team will evaluate emergency safe water, sanitation and hygiene needs in the area.

The earthquake and subsequent aftershocks have killed more than 11,700 people and injured thousands more in Turkey and Syria, according to reports Feb. 8.

“This is a region home to millions of people and there is the expectation that there will be thousands of internally displaced people seeking water, food, and shelter,” said Water Mission CEO and President George C. Greene IV. “In any crisis, the need for emergency safe water access is critical for survival and helping to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases.” 

Water Mission’s disaster response team leader Josh Burns added, “Whenever I hear about a disaster, each time my heart breaks more, because I’ve been connected to people who say they’ve lost their homes, or they have lost family members. It definitely changes you to really emphasize with people and want to help more.”

Sphere standards, minimum guidelines set forth by global humanitarian agencies, suggest the minimum volume of water required for drinking and domestic hygiene per household in a disaster is 7.5 liters (1.98 gallons) per person per day. Water Mission is coordinating efforts with local government authorities and additional aid organizations to exceed these disaster relief standards.   

“Lives hang in the balance as you think about people being impacted, losing their homes, food supply, water disruptions — these are all basic needs,” Greene said.

Water Mission has responded to natural disasters and humanitarian crises with long-term safe water solutions for more than 20 years. The organization’s global operations have served more than 7 million people since 2001.

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