News Update: Tonga and the Philippines

23rd January 2022

At this time of the year in Southeast Asia, disasters seem to come thick and fast. Aquabox is currently looking at ways to send water filters to both Tonga and the Philippines.

In late December Super Typhoon Rai hit the Visayas and Mindanao Islands in the Philippines, leaving millions of people in need of assistance and over half a million people without access to clean water and sanitation.

Typhoon Rai brought torrential rains, violent winds, landslides and storm surges which cut off water services and contaminated reservoirs and water sources. It compromised access to safe water and sanitation facilities, heightening the risk of communicable disease outbreaks. Many affected people are now subsisting on springs and hand pumps for water, many of which are reported to have been contaminated by flood and sea waters.

Then in January, the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano generated tsunami waves up to 49 feet (15 meters) high which hit the west coast of Tonga’s main island. It also covered the whole island in a 2cm layer of fine ash. All 100,000 inhabitants were affected.

Widespread stagnant pools of salt water, coupled with the volcanic ash, are polluting drinking water sources, according to the Red Cross. “Securing access to safe drinking water is a critical immediate priority,” pointing to the mounting risk of diarrhoea and diseases such as cholera.

Aquabox is currently working with its partners on the feasibility of establishing safe and secure distribution routes to both disaster areas. We are planning to ship a combination of Family Filters and Community Filters. The filters will enable more than 16,000 people (8,000 in each area) to have clean, safe water for drinking, cooking and washing, but with airfreight costs, the shipment will cost the charity £30,000.

Aquabox gets no government funding and relies entirely on donations for its life-saving work. Each Aquabox family filter costs less than £30 to assemble and has the potential to process up to half a million litres of contaminated water over its lifespan so every £10 donation could pay for more than 170,000 litres of clean, safe water.

We have expanded the Just Giving page to cover both disasters:

Could you please help with the cost of these humanitarian aid shipments?

Any surplus donations will be put towards similar disasters in the future.


Thank you.