U.S., Procter & Gamble send water purifiers to Pakistan

By joseph Picard for The International Business Times

Procter & Gamble is teaming up with the U.S. government to provide 28 million water purification kits to help flood victims in Pakistan.

“P&G is eager to bring clean drinking water to the people of Pakistan by partnering with USAID and the U.S. State Department’s Pakistan Relief Fund so that our many partners in Pakistan can provide more than a quarter of a billion liters of clean drinking water,” said Bob McDonald, P&G chairman of the board, president and CEO.

The purchase and distribution of water purification supplies marks the first disbursement of the State Department’s Pakistan Relief Fund. Created in the aftermath of the horrific floods that have devastated the country since July, the fund serves as a mechanism for the public to contribute money to the ongoing relief efforts.

According to the State Department, approximately $500,000 in private American and other contributions, including significant support from the Pakistani-American Diaspora community, will be matched by $500,000 from Procter & Gamble.

An additional $1 million will be provided by the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, a State Department agency.

The $2 million will purchase the 28 million water purification kits and deliver them to Pakistani flood victims. These kits include buckets and filtering cloths, which will generate 280 million liters of clean drinking water for 1.5 million people in desperate need.

The P&G kits utilize PUR packets, a water purifying technology developed by P&G and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help reduce sickness and death resulting from drinking contaminated water.

One small PUR packet quickly turns 10 liters of dirty, potentially deadly water into clean, drinkable water, P&G said.

McDonald said that P&G is well positioned to respond to this crisis with the PUR packets because they are manufactured in Pakistan. The company and its partners in Pakistan will work with local humanitarian groups to provide PUR packets as well as training to ensure proper use.

“The floods that have devastated Pakistan have taken weeks and have caused terrible damage, but the recovery will take much longer than that,” said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “As the waters recede, the people of Pakistan must know that they will not be alone. They can count on the U.S. and the international community to stand with them.”

Millions are without safe drinking water and water-borne diseases are spreading, the State Department said.

Approximately 2,000 people have died in the floods, which began in July and are considered the worst natural disaster in the nation’s history. The UN estimates that close to two million homes have been destroyed and as many as 21 million people have been injured and or left homeless by the catastrophe.

The UN, trying to feed 6 million Pakistanis, sent out another call for assistance to the world’s nations this weekend – the largest disaster appeal in UN history – asking for $2 billion in aid.

In response, the United Kingdom more than doubled its pledge to Pakistani relief, bringing the total to $209 million. The U.S. raised its commitment to $345 million.

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