Call for water professionals to join crisis response register

Delivering water and sanitation services for the 300,000 made homeless by the explosion in the Port of Beirut will be very challenging.

A new centrally held register of water professionals who can contribute to disaster efforts has been launched by the Water Action Platform. The Crisis Response Register has been set up initially as a response to the explosion that occurred in the port of Beirut, Lebanon on 4 August and is intended to be a permanent record.

Dr Piers Clark, chairman of Isle Utilities, which hosts the Water Action Platform said: “We are launching the Crisis Response Register for water professionals who feel they may have something they could contribute – be it for Beirut or any future disasters. Whether you work within a water utility directly, or are part of the supply chain - contractor, consultant, tech company - your input, and perhaps that of your organisation, could make a difference.”

The explosion was linked to inappropriate storage of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate and more than 200 people died and 7,000 injured in the blast. In addition, 300,000 have been made homeless and up to US$15bn of damage caused.

Dr Clark explained, “My thoughts turned to the water and sanitation challenges that this accident has created in a country which already had unsatisfactory infrastructure. For thousands of families the coming winter is going to be incredibly tough. Ensuring that there is no cholera outbreak and protecting them from Covid-19 are going to be particular challenges.”

Clark said that over 72 hours he spoke to multiple organisations and relief agencies, thinking that there would be a register of global water professionals who could be called upon in times of crisis, but time and again was told that no such register existed.

“In fact, I was told, if such a thing did exist it would be hugely valuable,” he revealed. “There are many excellent, highly capable and well-equipped organisations and charities who are working hard to address the immediate needs,” says Clark. “What we are creating here is a register of water professionals who can be called up to support these organisations.

“I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to apply my professional knowledge to help and I urge anyone who feels the same way to register today.”

Industry professionals wishing to join the Crisis Response Register can watch Dr Clark’s personal appeal and register here.

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