Friday, December 30, 2011

'Miracle Water' Flows in Mindanao's flooded communities

 The Aspen 5000 is now used by the Army engineers to provide safe drinking water for the affected communities in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. It is loaned by the US military to the National Development Support Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City---Fresh water has finally flowed in the disaster-stricken villages of both cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan upon the installation of water purifying machines by the Army engineers yesterday. 

Hundreds of residents queued for their turn to get potable water from the said facility which was set up in order to help the communities whose water supply was cut after the pipelines and water sources were devastated by the raging floodwaters about a week ago.

1st Lieutenant Dennis Martinez of the 52nd Engineering Brigade led the soldiers who assisted the affected communities in Cagayan de Oro City.

“I have brought with me two water-purifiying machines were installed in Macasandig village. The ASPEN 5000 model can produce about 5,000 gallons of purified water while the ASPEN 2000 model can produce about 500 gallons in a day-long operation,” said Martinez. 

Another machine was also installed in Iligan City to serve the affected residents of Hinaplanon village.  

1st Lieutenant Joshua Lim of the Army’s 51st Engineering Brigade based in Quezon City led the soldiers who were sent to help the people in the area. His group is assisted by the soldiers of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade.
Soldiers belonging to the Army's 51st Engineering Brigade prepare the ASPEN 5000 purifying machine that will serve the drinking water requirements of Hinaplanon village in Iligan City. Hundreds of families benefited the said water service facility. (NADESCOM Photo)

‘Miracle water’

Initially, people were hesitant to drink the processed water which was taken from the murky waters of the river nearby. 

Watching closely during the purification process, they were amazed to see that a ‘miracle’ happens when the brownish-color water  turned into clear, safe drinking water.

To erase their doubts, the soldiers and the community leaders themselves led the ‘test-tasting’ of the crystal-clear water that was processed in the purifying machine.

Lidelia Mesina, 52, of Hinaplanon village in Iligan City came to see the water purifying machine. She is a chemist who had worked in the Middle East for many years.

“I have inspected the machine and personally tasted the water. It is quite the same taste as the commercially available purified drinking water which is quite expensive for poor villagers whose property and livelihood are lost in the floods,” said Mesina who lost both her parents and 3 young relatives in the floods. 

Her loved ones were trapped in their ancestral house which was engulfed by the surging waters that fateful night on December 16, 2011. She lost a total of 15 relatives.

“I am offering my ancestral house as a water distribution area for my fellow villagers. The same river which devastated my village is now the source of life for the people who also have no running electricity and no source of livelihood,” said Mesina, as tears welled in her eyes. 

She also thanked the soldiers for continuously helping the villagers starting from the first day of the flooding up to this day. 

“Your presence eases our pain and suffering. In my simple ways, I will help you out in your efforts here in our place,” she told Lt Lim who led the relief operations in her village.  

Lidelia Mesina, a chemist, assists te residents who queued for drinking water in a distribution area established by the soldiers in Hinaplanon village, Iligan City. NADESCOM chief Lt. Gen. Charlie Holganza looks on. (NADESCOM Photo)

Relief assistance continues to flow

The three ASPEN model purifying machines were loaned by the US Marine Forces Pacific which is working closely with the AFP’s National Development Support Command (NADESCOM) in its numerous development projects all over the country. 

The machine is run by electricity and it has a built-in rechargeable battery that can run for 3-hours. The soldiers are using power generators run by diesel fuel in areas where there electric power has not been restored like in Hinaplanon village.

As the Army engineers hop from one place to another with their purifying machines, relief goods continue to flow in the collection points inside military camps around the archipelago. 

A 22 vehicle convoy from the 10th Infantry Division came to deliver relief items a few days ago. 

Separate deliveries were also made by the 9th Infantry Division based in Bicol and the 8th Infantry Division based in Samar.

The Army headquarters have also collected at least 500 tons of relief items. The initial deliveries were transported by the Navy ship to northern Mindanao three days ago.

Newly promoted Army Chief Lt Gen Emmanuel Bautista has commended the soldiers for their relentless efforts in the massive relief and rescue operations around the country. He has also expressed appreciation for the steady flow of relief assistance from various stakeholders.

“I am glad that the Bayanihan spirit of the Filipinos is alive. I  will ensure that the Army will continuously support  the local government and other local government agencies in their task to rebuild people’s lives in the disaster affected communities,” said Bautista.

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