x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

All the way from Dubai, clean water for victims of the flood

A local company has helped install more than 100 water purification units to millions of people in flood-stricken areas of Pakistan.

A girl displaced by flooding collects drinking water from a pump at a relief camp north of Dadu, Sindh province, this week.
A girl displaced by flooding collects drinking water from a pump at a relief camp north of Dadu, Sindh province, this week.

A Dubai-based company is taking part in efforts to provide clean water to millions of people in flood-stricken areas of Pakistan. The company, So Safe Water Technologies, has helped to install more than 100 water purification units in affected areas including Jacobabad in northern Pakistan within the past three weeks, said Sultan Mahmood, the company's chief executive.

"Each unit can provide water for up to 10,000 people a day," he said. The flooding, the worst in 80 years, has destroyed roads, buildings and communications connections, and left millions homeless. It has also left millions without a supply of clean water. The United Nations warned last month that 3.5 million children were at risk of water-borne diseases such as cholera and dysentery. The water purification systems, each weighing around 200kg and measuring one metre by 1.5 metres, can make water taken from Pakistan's flooded rivers safe for human consumption.

The systems rely on methods used in the UAE to produce potable water from the sea. If the flood water is relatively clean, it goes through intense filtration, known to experts as ultra-filtration. The water can also be treated using reverse osmosis, which involves passing it under pressure through a series of membranes. In some areas, according to Mr Mahmood, further treatment is required to guard against contamination with arsenic, lead and nitrates.

With 16 branches in Pakistan, the company supplies the systems to the Pakistani army as they attempt to provide people with clean water. The army airlifts the units to affected areas and supplies personnel to guard and operate them. The company's director, Usman Mahmood, said that within the next week, "between two and five" units would be sent to flood victims, this time supplied straight from the company's head office in the UAE.

Mr Mahmood said he was also negotiating the sale of those units to others who were interested in helping the aid efforts. These sales were made at a discount of 40 per cent. "People are considering buying units from us and we are helping them deliver and install them," he said. @Email:vtodorova@thenational.ae