In many African, Asian and South American countries the shortage of clean water  and the issue of contaminated water become a huge problem. In Ethiopia for example, where water is dangerously scarce, water found in the local pond is most likely contaminated. Parents often have little choice but to bring it home for their thirsty children to drink who need it to survive.

This potentially deadly situation is all-too-common for families in Borena, an impoverished region in southern Ethiopia, where hundreds of thousands of people suffer as a result of water shortages caused by catastrophic drought. Drinking untreated water increases the risk for diarrheal disease that can be deadly – especially for children and adults with immune systems weakened by malnutrition.

To help thousands of families affected by the Horn of Africa drought and famine, Oblate World Missions is working hard through our missionaries to help organize sachets of PURE WATER purification tablets for missions in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. At the height of the emergency, so many of the sachets were organized through our partners and were used as a blessing providing thousands of Ethiopian families with clean, treated water for six months.

During the distribution, men, women and children received hands-on training on how to properly use the sachets, and learned about the importance of treating water and effective methods to reduce the risk of infection and diarrheal disease.

A child drinks water near a stream in Fuyuan county, Yunnan province March 20, 2009. World Water Day will be observed on March 22. Picture taken March 20, 2009. (Photo by Reuters/Stringer)

Ongoing Famine Relief

Since famine was declared in parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia in summer, 2011, Oblate World Missions has delivered so much in aid to these East African nations, including nutritional supplements, water purification tablets, and urgently needed medicines and medical supplies. Our efforts to reduce human suffering in this stricken region of the world will continue as long as needed.

Our Missionaries reported that once the importance of drinking treated water was instilled in the community, the interest in using the treatment sachets increased, and the incidence of diarrheal disease has been noticeably reduced.

It is good to drink clean water. Treating it has improved our lives. Previously, we had diarrhea, vomiting and disease, but now after using the treated water, my whole family is healthy,” said one of the woman from Kenya. “The only challenge now is shortage, with the limited water in the pond.

We are happy that we have the knowledge and our problems are being solved,” said Darmi Galgalo. “Particularly I am happy with the way the selection was done by the community leaders who sought to help the poorest of the poor