Giving water back to 40,000 people
By Dhruva Majagaiyan, UNICEF Philippines WASH Specialist
DULAG, Philippines, 17 January 2014 – Dulag, a small town approximately 40 km South of Tacloban along the East coast of Leyte Province, was also affected by typhoon Yolanda. Besides other devastation, the water system serving more than 40,000 people was disrupted after the power cut.
The water system includes two boreholes with pumping station, chlorination unit and pipe network within the town of Dulag. Fortunately, the system survived the typhoon quite well, except the power supply required for the pumping station. As a result, the whole system stopped working after the typhoon and approximately 40,000 people were suffering from acute water shortage problems. The population did not have piped water supply, and people had to rely on unprotected water sources like hand pumps. About three weeks after the typhoon, the municipality was able to arrange a small generator, but due to its limited capacity, it could not run the system in full and the water system was still partially defunct.
I met Mayor Manuel Sia Que, who explained that the one piece that was missing to bring the water supply system back to full swing was a 20 KVA generator to run the system in full capacity. Within less than one week, UNICEF in Tacloban was able to arrange one such generator and dispatched it to Dulag on 7 December. Local technicians installed the generator, and as a result, the 40,000 people of Dulag now have access to uninterrupted supply of safe drinking water again.
Mayor Que expressed many thanks to UNICEF on behalf of the people of Dulag for the generous help received from UNICEF. "This help is not only for the time being but will be as long-term support. Even after power supply from the grid resumes, the generator will work as a backup power source in future calamities. In terms of preparedness for water supply in future, this is really a great help for the people of Dulag. Thanks to UNICEF," he said.