The effects of a cyclone are so incredibly complex.  At a glance people are left without homes.  People are left without crops and incomes.  And most often, peoples’ water sources are destroyed or contaminated.

This was the scenario for many communities on the island of Efate, especially in Epau and Pang Pang.  While the cyclone tore through their beachside villages and the ocean encroached further up into their homes far from the shore, it did more damage than they expected.  Helen and her four children were some of those who sheltered in her house and emerged to see the destruction.

But one of her biggest concerns was one she didn’t expect – her village’s water supply was now mixed with salt water and undrinkable.

“The water was dirty,” she tells us from her home.  “The water mixed with the salt water – I didn’t want to drink it.”

“When we take it from the tank, the water is sour.”

But ADRA was ready and prepared for this situation with pre-positioned water filtration kits.  These kits transform unsafe water into clean, drinkable water.  And for those in Epau, the effects were immediate.

“Before ADRA distribute [the filters], there were some people who had diarrhoea from drinking the water,” Helen says.  “But now no one is sick.”

“Because we use water every day, so when we use the clean water, no one is sick – no one has to go to hospital.”

Even though it was an unusual thing to receive, Helen says that using the included instructions were helpful.

“It was easy to put together,” she says.

Helen uses the filtered water for drinking only, but the effect of the one ADRA filtration bag is multi-fold.

She also assists in the village aid post (the village clinic) so when someone is sick, they use the clean water from her house.  More than 40 people seeking treatment at the clinic have used her water.  And more than just the clinic, the ADRA filter is shared by a further 21 people in five houses surrounding Helen’s own home.

“I use it all day,” smiles Helen.

Source: ADRA Vanuatu/Media Production, Vanuatu Mission

Photo Credit: Jean Pierre Niptik/ADRA Vanuatu