Water a pressing concern for typhoon survivors

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Associated Press

Posted on November 16, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 17 at 12:04 AM

TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) — Safe water is a pressing concern for the survivors of the devastating Philippines typhoon.

It's desperately scarce in storm-ravaged parts of the country. Without it, people struggling to rebuild and even survive risk catching intestinal and other diseases that can spread if they're unable to wash properly.

While aid agencies work to provide a steady supply, survivors are resorting to scooping from streams, catching rainwater in buckets and smashing open pipes to obtain what is left from disabled pumping stations. With at least 600,000 people homeless, the demand is massive.

It took several days for aid groups to bring large quantities of water to Tacloban, the eastern Philippine city where the typhoon wreaked its worst destruction. By Friday, tankers were arriving.

Water provisioning should get a big boost with the recent arrival of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which has a distillation plant that can produce 400,000 gallons of fresh water per day.

Britain also is sending a carrier with facilities to produce fresh water.

Filtration systems are now operating in Tacloban and two other towns in Leyte province.

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