As the first water from a Water Missions International treatment purifier began flowing in Port-au-Prince on Monday, 10 more water-treatment systems were loaded on trucks in West Ashley to be deployed overnight to earthquake- ravaged Haiti.
The systems' water-storage tanks were covered with handwritten notes and prayers for the island people caught in the devastation, scrawled and signed by members of Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant.
Six purifiers already on the ground were expected to be flowing by late Monday. At least 20 systems are now in Haiti or en route, according the water mission's web site.
Meanwhile, four staffers of the Charleston-based nonprofit who were feared lost in the quake have survived and escaped serious injury.
The $25,000 units can use solar power or generators to turn 10 gallons of dirty water into safe drinking water in one minute, enough to serve at least 5,000 people a day. The units can start producing clean water within an hour or two of arrival and can provide water to a community for years, said Chief Executive Officer George Greene.
Water Missions is a Christian, nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide safe drinking water to people in developing countries and disaster areas.
Patrick Haughney, director of international programs, flew to the island Friday to set up the systems with staff and volunteers.
Water Missions was formed in 2001 by Greene and his wife, Molly, who sold an environmental engineering company to open the nonprofit after hearing about bad water in Honduras following a hurricane. It has helped more than 1.5 million people around the world.
In 2004, the water mission sent more than 100 purification systems to communities in Indonesia and Sri Lanka after the deadly tsunami, restoring drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people.