Quick Response to Asian Tsunami: ITT
When the tsunami hit southern Asia on 26 December 2004, International Telephone & Telegraph (ITT) industries announced that it would donate water purifying equipment and expertise to some of the areas hit hardest by the tsunami and contribute financial aid to the global humanitarian relief effort.
Just a few hours after the tsunami hit, ITT began preparing for the delivery of 60 portable ST1 water treatment units to the disaster area and planned to ship gas-fed chlorinators to relief organizers operating in the region. The company targeted Sri Lanka as a place where water filtration systems would be most effective.
In addition to the membrane filtration units, ITT also shipped gas-fed chlorinators to relief organizers in the region. The equipment allowed people without electricity to treat contaminated water supplies with chlorine and provide safe, drinkable water. They provided the level of treatment necessary to combat waterborne diseases such as cholera and giardiasis, a diarrheal illness caused by a one-celled parasite.
Working through USAID and the Industrial Services Bureau (ISB), a local NGO, ITT got volunteers to the scene quickly, and ISB got the local assistance needed, helping to install the filtration systems quickly. Four product experts from ITT spent more than two weeks in Sri Lanka teaching local people, including the Sri Lankan army and navy, to install, operate and redeploy the equipment, which remained in Sri Lanka to provide ongoing relief.