UMCOR Sends Water Treatment Units to Mozambique

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is working to meet the crucial need for safe drinking water in Mozambique and other parts of Southern Africa ravaged by floodwaters.
Two two-piece water treatment units, capable of producing 10,000 gallons of potable water per day, have been sent to Mozambique, according to Wendy Whiteside, an UMCOR executive. The units come from General Engineering Laboratories, based in Charleston, S.C.

The company launched its "Project Living Water" as part of the relief effort in Honduras after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America in 1998. George Green, a chemical engineer, designed a less costly water treatment unit that was easier to transport and operate, assisted by Tim Owens, an environmental engineer at General Engineering Laboratories.

UMCOR contracted to have Owens go to Mozambique in mid-March for six days to teach people how to train others to operate the units, Whiteside said.

Each unit fits in the back of a pickup truck and acts as a miniature treatment plant for raw water sources. Sand filtration is used for the removal of sediment, chlorination for the removal of disease-causing microorganisms and another filtration process for the removal of microorganisms resistant to chlorination. According to the company, a single unit can fulfill the drinking water needs of communities ranging from several hundred to several thousand people.

Through a grant from the Soros Foundation, UMCOR will be able to ship five more of the units to Southern Africa.

Whiteside noted that United Methodists could help finance the purchase of more units - which cost between $10,000 and $12,000 apiece - by contributing to the Churchwide Appeal for Flood Recovery in Mozambique and Neighboring Countries. Checks may be written to UMCOR, designated to Advance #156500-0, and placed in church collection plates or mailed to 475 Riverside Dr., Room 330. New York, NY 10115. Credit-card donations can be made by calling (800) 554-8583.

United Methodist Committee on Relief
Room 330, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115
Voice Phone: 212-870-3816; FAX: 212-870-3624