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In recognition of World Water Day on March 22nd, we're highlighting one of our Partners for Change, Mercy Corps. This World Water Day is about water and climate change —how the two are inextricably linked. Adapting to the water effects of climate change will protect health and save lives. Using water more efficiently will reduce greenhouse gases. We cannot afford to wait, everyone has a role to play.

Photo Credit: Ezra Millstein, Mercy Corps. Tezel Lightbourne, Mercy Corps Program Officer, works to distribute water in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. She manages the water monitors that are at the distribution sites, tracks water usage data, monitors water quality, and identifies economically distressed communities that might benefit from new sites. 

It's been six months since Hurricane Dorian struck The Bahamas as a Category 5 storm, causing widespread devastation on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama with $3.4 billion in damage.

The storm surge and extensive flooding during the hurricane contaminated the aquifer that feeds the more than 200 wells from which Grand Bahamians draw water. Today, efforts on Grand Bahama to flush the aquifer of saltwater are ongoing and there is still limited access to safe drinking water. People are still having to make decisions about cooking, eating and drinking based on the limited supply of water they are able to get on a daily or weekly basis. Many have to rely on bottled water or distributions of desalinated water.

That’s why Mercy Corps teamed up with Mission Resolve Foundation to increase access to clean water to those who need it through the installation of a water treatment plant, which uses reverse osmosis, a commonly used water desalination technology, to treat water.

Photo Credit: Ezra Millstein, Mercy Corps. Keith Chathlain has volunteered to deliver potable water to communities on Grand Bahama since Mercy Corps started responding to Hurricane Dorian in September 2019. He says he hasn't taken a day off since October, because the need for water is still so great.

The plant is enabling Mercy Corps to deliver safe drinking water to health facilities, schools and to individuals through public tap stands. The organization has delivered more than 250,000 gallons of clean water in Freeport, serving over 5,000 people daily, and the water treatment system is producing almost 16,000 gallons each day of safe drinking water. This is helping hurricane survivors save money and reduce the environmental impact of buying bottled water.

One of the things we think makes Mercy Corps unique —and why they are one of our Partners for Change —is that they go beyond immediate disaster relief and help communities build back better. In addition to providing clean water on the island of Grand Bahama, Mercy Corps is also assisting more than 200 micro, small and medium-sized businesses get back on their feet after the hurricane. The organization is providing grants to help them reopen and provides training focused on business skills like accounting and marketing to help business owners increase their chance for long-term success and become better prepared for future disasters.

Make a tax-deductible gift today and help save lives. Click HERE to donate to Mercy Corps. 

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