Marks Tey: Company helps bring clean drinking water to stricken victims of the Philippines hurricane

Lifesaver Systems jerry cans

Lifesaver Systems jerry cans - Credit: Archant

A firm from north Essex is spearheading efforts to provide much-needed aid to the victims of the hurricane that has decimated parts of the Philippines.

Typhoon Haiyan - one of the most powerful storms ever recorded on land - hit the coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar on Friday and is reported to have affected up to 11 million people.

The aftermath of the disaster has left a huge logistical challenge to government workers and aid agencies, who are struggling to get the most basic resources to communities.

But Marks Tey-based company, Lifesaver Systems, hopes it can help to bring clean drinking and washing water to some of these stricken people.

Yesterday, 2,500 of its patented water purification jerry cans were loaded onto a lorry destined for East Midlands Airport on the first stage of a journey that will end up in Southeast Asia.

The firm, which works with the rapid response arm of the Department for International Development, has developed a simple filtration system that can produce sterile water without the need for power, chemicals or UV light.

According to chairman of the firm, Charles Clee, the system has already proved effective in saving lives in other disaster zones, such as the floods in Pakistan and the earthquake in Haiti.

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“The most important thing about the jerry can is that it gives people access to sterile water without having to put in place a vast logistical operation,” he said.

“Water is heavy and bulky to move around but by using these cans any fresh water can be made sterile. They are easy to use and robust People just add water and pump it through the filter.

“In this 40 foot truck that we have loaded, there are enough jerry cans to produce 50,000 tonnes of sterile water”.

He added: “This initial batch is going out with aid from Oxfam and we expect there will be demand for more cans in the weeks to come.”