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Water Filters for Puerto Rico

$7,829 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 91 people in 22 months
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The UCSF Asthma Collaboratory (UCSF) is raising funds to purchase water filters benefitting Puerto Rico’s post-hurricane water crisis.

Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, home to 3.4 million American citizens, on September 20th, ravaging the island’s electricity grid and water infrastructure. FEMA is delivering 742 thousand liters of water per day (FEMA). However, data from statusPR, a government-run progress tracker, shows that 30.5% of the population does not have running water and 87.7% of the island still lacks electricity (statusPR, October 20).

Puerto Rican residents are bathing in and drinking from streams contaminated by farm runoff and toxic waste, drastically increasing the risk for a major waterborne disease outbreak (AP News , CNN). Aid will not last forever, and until all water treatment plants are operational and running water access has been fully restored, Puerto Ricans will require tools to keep their water supplies safe. At the end of the fundraiser, we will be purchasing water filters in bulk and sending them to our collaborator José Rodríguez-Santana, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, who runs the largest pediatric lung clinic in the Caribbean (Centro de Neumología Pediátrica). Your donation will go directly toward purchasing the filters, and our longstanding collaboration with medical services in Puerto Rico will ensure that the filters go directly to those in need.


Cover photo of individuals in Utuado, Puerto Rico two weeks after Hurricane Maria. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.
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Thank you to all who donated to our fundraiser and took the time to learn more about the situation in Puerto Rico. We closed the fundraiser with a final donation amount of $7829, which comes out to $7183 after GoFundMe-related costs.

On Monday we will be purchasing 480 PointOne Filters from Sawyer and shipping them to the clinic of our main collaborator in Puerto Rico. The filters will be distributed to patients at Centro de Neumología Pediátrica, especially targeting families with the greatest need.

Each filter can produce 295 gallons (1117 liters) of clean water per day, yet over 400,000 fellow citizens still lack access to running water (StatusPR). Almost two months ago, Hurricane Maria destroyed an estimated 250,000 homes and ravaged the power grid, which is not expected to be fully functional until the spring (CNN 60 Minutes). Asthma, type 2 diabetes and hypertension are highly prevalent in Puerto Rico and doctors fear that lack of access to medicine, coupled with inconsistent energy due to dependence on emergency generators, mean long term complications of these diseases will increase (HMS News). This lack of infrastructure directly impacts the health and wellbeing of Puerto Ricans and will have lasting effects for years to come.

If you would like to learn more about the situation, here are some informative sources:
https://hms.harvard.edu/news/puerto-rico-after-maria
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/puerto-ricos-storm-of-misery/
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/article183500171.html

Also, if you would like to donate to another water-related effort you can do so here:
https://waterfiltersforpr.com/
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We are TWO DAYS AWAY from closing the fundraiser! Monday morning, we will withdraw the money from GoFundMe and then coordinate directly with Sawyer to purchase their PointOne Bucket Adaptor kits at a 78% discount.

I want to share with you a message from Vivian L. Medina RN, B.S.N ,SC, a friend of our lab and Senior Study Coordinator in the Centro de Neumologia Pediatrica in Puerto Rico. I have also attached pictures and a video showing the debris in her neighborhood over five weeks after the hurricane.

“The challenge of finding enough water to drink and cook with remains enormous across the island, even in its largest city. People engage in a perpetual game of cat and mouse, scouring the city for any hints of places with water to sell.
There are 3.4 million people in the island and about 35% of households are still without access to safe drinking water. The World Health Organization says each person needs at least 2.5 liters per day for drinking alone, with a recommended daily allotment of up to 15 liters per day including basic cooking and hygiene. Yet FEMA has provided 23.6 million liters – 6.2 million gallons of bottled water and bulk water since the storm hit on September 20th. That includes water delivered to hospitals and dialysis centers. That’s only roughly 9% of the drinking water needed for the entire territory. It’s an even smaller fraction if you include basic cooking and hygiene needs.
Many people are still collecting water from mountain springs and creeks that run alongside roads. Some know they should boil this water, and others don’t. Municipal workers emphasize the importance of drinking bottled water. The water that runs in the pipes is bad tasting and awful smell. While boiling is an easy way to decontaminate water, most people don’t have electricity or gas stove to get that done.
People are so desperate that the Environmental Protection Agency cited reports of residents trying to obtain drinking water from wells at hazardous Superfund sites. “E.P.A. advises against tampering with sealed and locked wells or drinking from these wells, as it may be dangerous to people’s health,’’ the agency said.
The demand has skyrocketed, according to grocery store managers, distributors and supply companies, because safe, drinkable tap water is still largely unavailable, and deliveries of water from the outside have not kept up with demand. The sight of water delivery trucks outside stores is prompting long lines to form. Crushes of customers snatch up new shipments even before store employees can restock empty shelves. There’s a real sense of urgency.

Before Maria hit, most of the bottled water consumed in Puerto Rico was produced in factories on the island. The island was already running low on bottled water before the storm, because it was exporting a lot to places that had been damaged by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Water is the most important thing, more important than power.”


Please donate if you can or read more about the current situation by following along with reporter David Begnaud ( https://twitter.com/davidbegnaud?lang=en) or reading about the effort to restore power to the island, http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/03/us/puerto-rico-power-investigation-santiago/index.html
Five weeks after Hurricane Maria
From Vivian Medina
From Vivian Medina
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Two major updates to share:

1. At the end of this fundraiser we will be purchasing SP180ND- PointOne Bucket Adapter Kits from Sawyer, an international water filtration company. The kits usually cost $58.12, however in an effort to help as many people as possible, Sawyer has dropped the price to $12.57 for us. The kit can filter 295 gallons (1117 liters) of water per day! We will also be using the funds to purchase five gallon buckets which the filter attaches to; we are currently working on securing a cost effective vendor for the buckets.

2. The deadline for the fundraiser is Sunday, November 5!! In Puerto Rico right now, over 2.5 million Americans lack power and over 800,000 do not have fresh water. It’s important we get the filters to Puerto Rico as quickly as possible!

Thank you so much to all who have donated and/or taken the time to learn more about the situation in Puerto Rico.
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$7,829 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 91 people in 22 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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