Water, just like shelter, is a human right.
Whoever you are, wherever you are – you are entitled to clean, safe water.

But today, billions of people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water.

When disasters devastate whole communities and force families far from home, it can be hard to ensure access to clean water.

Families often find themselves in inhospitable areas or overcrowded camps where finding safe water is a daily struggle.

By providing families with water containers and water filters, we can make safe drinking water one less thing to worry about.

key stats

2.1 Billion people lack access to safe drinking water

41% of the world’s refugees do not have access to safe drinking water

90% of all natural disasters are water-related

our aid: water filters

When families are unable to access clean water, water filters enable them to produce safe drinking water.

The filters can remove viruses, bacteria and pathogens that can be found within contaminated water, as well as chemicals, heavy metals and fecal matter.

A water filter can turn up to 1000 litres of unsafe water into clean drinking water – that’s enough for a family of four for a month.

Watch this video to find out how our water filters work.

Tshamaya's story

"I suffered too much with my wife and children always sick. When my wife fetches water, I filter the quantity that I can and I keep the filter for next time", Tshamaya says.

Tshamaya lives in Minawao refugee camp, Cameroon.

In 2012, his whole family were forced to flee their home in Nigeria in search of a safer place to call home. Five years on, Minawao refugee camp has become their hometown.

Their lives would have been much easier if they hadn’t all become ill. On their arrival at the camp, the family started suffering from stomach aches, caused by drinking unsafe water. But they didn’t have a choice – it was a matter of drinking dirty water or no water at all.

Using the water filter he received, Tshamaya was able to produce safe drinking water for his family. Tshamaya says:

Since […] we started using the filter that we received, nobody complained of stomach ache”

Take a closer look

Why do communities struggle to access clean water after a disaster?

Whether it’s a cyclone, flooding or conflict, disasters can cause huge amounts of destruction and damage – and clean water is often compromised. Hand pumps break and local water sources get filled with debris, dirt or even chemicals.

How can disaster-affected families produce safe drinking water?

There are three main methods to do this: disinfection, sedimentation and filtration.

Disinfection uses chemicals, boiling or sunlight to rid water of bacteria. Sedimentation allows dirt to fall to the bottom of a water container over time. Filtration physically removes dirt by passing water through a material such as ceramic or sand.

We provide water filters because they are the most reliable and safest way to produce clean water.

Do all ShelterBox responses involve water filters and carriers?

No, they don’t. Every response is different, so the decision to distribute these is based on the needs of the affected families.

How long do water filters and carriers last?

If kept in their original packaging between 10°C and 30°C, a water carrier can last up to ten years. A water filter reaches the end of its lifespan after treating 1000 litres of water.

how much do you know

Do you have an ocean of knowledge about water? Or are you more of a puddle? Take the ShelterBox quiz to test your knowledge and find out.