Private sector strengthens commitment towards regional emergency relief

SINGAPORE - A group of companies here has become the first from the private sector to make a contribution to a centre for Asean disaster relief effort.

The Corporate Citizen Foundation (CCF) presented $100,000 in cash and assets to the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) on Friday (March 11)

The CCF was was launched in October 2014 as a platform to catalyse private sector collaboration. It leverages on the networks, assets and expertise of corporate partners to help improve lives and safety in Asia.

Along with a cash donation, 10 water purification systems were presented to the AHA Centre. All the purification systems were made in Singapore, and were developed by Golden Season. Of the 10 systems that were donated, nine of them are powered manually, and may be used immediately in disaster relief efforts.

Named StepPure, the system is able to churn out 500 litres of clean drinking water from dirty water per hour, and can filter out known bacteria, smell, chemicals and metals. It is powered by a simple stepping motion, allowing it to be employed in disaster-stricken and remote areas where power supplies are scarce.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony held at HSL Waterfront at Penjuru, Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan acknowledged CCF's efforts to "offer not just expertise, but also special abilities when disaster strikes".

His sentiments were echoed by Mr Said Faisal, the executive director of AHA Centre, who said: "The private sector does not only bring relief items and donations, but also introduces innovation and change for the humanitarian landscape."

Mr Hassan Ahmad, the executive director of CCF, said that there is a glaring gap in the humanitarian space. "There is a real need not just for funds, but also for assets that are appropriate for effective intervention during disasters."

The cash donation and water treatment systems aim to fill this gap, and will benefit AHA Centre's operations and stockpiling efforts, allowing it to respond to regional disasters more effectively, he added.

Correction note: An earlier version of this story implied that the CCF contributed 10 water purification systems on top of $100,000 to the AHA Centre. The 10 water purification systems were actually part of the $100,000 contribution. We are sorry for the confusion caused.