Clean water

During disasters like storms, earthquakes or conflict, water pipes and pumps get broken, rivers and wells become contaminated. You could find yourself living in inhospitable areas or overcrowded camps where water is in short supply. Finding clean water for you and your family becomes an urgent priority.

And it’s not only for drinking. Washing hands frequently is one of the most important things we can do to keep ourselves safe from disease.

By providing water filters and carriers, we can help people produce vital clean water.

41% of the world’s refugees do not have access to safe drinking water

Around 74% of all disasters between 2001 and 2018 were water-related’ (UNWATER)

2.2 billion people do not have safely managed drinking water services (UNICEF)

Man using water filter in Cameroon
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56 year old Tchamaye filters water for his wife and 5 children in Cameroon. Like so many other families in the area, they fled from armed terrorist attacks in the middle of night, leaving their home and belongings behind.

Our aid

Water filters

When clean water is hard to find, water filters help people to produce safe drinking water.

Our water filter removes bacteria, viruses, and protozoa that can be found within contaminated water.

It can filter up to 200,000 litres of unsafe water

Donate today to help a family produce safe-drinking water.

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Woman producing clean water.
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In Cameroon, Falmata pours her safe drinking water in the water carrier to store it. "Now I have the possibility to store drinking water for two days. I live much better with them", she says.

Water carriers

By working with disaster-affected families, we’ve learned that it’s important to provide water carriers along with water filters.

This gives families a place to store the clean water, so it can be kept clean and safe to drink.

In the Philippines, our collapsible water carriers have been particularly welcomed by women, who told us they were light and easy to carry.

Sometimes, families even use the collapsed carriers as bowls to eat from or to store food.

Take a closer look

Why do communities struggle to access clean water after a disaster?

Whether it’s a cycloneflooding or conflict, disasters can cause huge amounts of destruction and damage – and clean water is often compromised.

Hand pumps break and local water sources get filled with debris, dirt, or even chemicals.

How can disaster-affected families produce safe drinking water?

There are three main methods to do this: disinfection, sedimentation, and filtration.

Disinfection uses chemicals, boiling or sunlight to rid water of bacteria. Sedimentation allows dirt to fall to the bottom of a water container over time. Filtration physically removes dirt by passing water through a material such as ceramic or sand.

We provide water filters because they are the most reliable and safest way to produce clean water.

Do all ShelterBox responses involve water filters and carriers?

No, they don’t.

Every response is different, so the decision to distribute these is based on the needs of the affected families.

Read our Disasters Explained series to explore different disasters, how they occur and their effects on communities.

A family posing with their water filter.
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“I suffered too much with my wife and children always sick. When my wife fetches water, I filter the quantity that I can and I keep the filter for the next time", Tshamaya says.

Tshamaya’s story

Tshamaya lives in Minawao refugee camp, Cameroon.

In 2012, his whole family were forced to flee their home in Nigeria in search of a safer place to call home. Five years on, Minawao refugee camp became their hometown.

Their lives would have been much easier if they hadn’t all become ill. On their arrival at the camp, the family started suffering from stomach aches, caused by drinking unsafe water. But they didn’t have a choice – it was a matter of drinking dirty water or no water at all.

Using the water filter he received, Tshamaya was able to produce safe drinking water for his family. Tshamaya says:

Since we started using the filter that we received, nobody complained again of stomach ache.

A woman and a child washing their hands

Safe water after disaster

Minati’s house was submerged when monsoon rains and severe flash flooding battered Odisha, India in 2020.

The roof was torn, the walls collapsed, and utensils were soon floating in the floodwater. Minati’s access to clean water was compromised.

We worked with our partner Habitat for Humanity India to distribute emergency shelter and water filters to families like Minati’s in India.