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While most Americans are getting ready for the holiday season, Puerto Ricans are still struggling to resume normal life three months after a deadly hurricane struck the island. According to PBS, 93% of Puerto Ricans now have some access to clean water following Hurricane Maria, though ‘access’ doesn’t necessarily mean that water is running from the taps.

In many parts of the region, people are still relying on bottled drinking water transported from a great distance; in other places, where the taps are flowing, people aren’t sure if the water is safe to drink.

Following the hurricane that toppled infrastructure on September 20, widespread flooding and its associated debris have caused concerns about drinking water contamination. Groundwater inundated with flooding has the potential to become a breeding ground for bacteria and parasites from animal carcasses, compromised municipal sewage, and private septic tanks. Water laced with toxins, chemicals, and infectious diseases can threaten community and personal health long after the immediate danger from a hurricane has passed.

Thankfully, many North Americans have been responding to an effort by LifeStraw to provide Puerto Ricans with water purifiers and filters that serve as one solution to the territory’s long-term recovery effort.

Contributions to the Safe Water Fund have resulted in water treatments deployed to Puerto Rico to provide individuals, families, and whole communities access to clean water. In addition to funds raised by donors, LifeStraw is donating products directly, matching donations and devoting hundreds of hours to coordinate relief efforts.

Puerto Ricans with LifeStraw

“This fund provides consumers with an opportunity to truly make a difference for the people impacted by natural disasters—and know that their donations are providing people with life-changing products that improve their health and wellbeing during difficult times,” said Alison Hill, Managing Director for LifeStraw.

Consumers have already raised more than $150,000 for the Safe Water Fund to support hurricane relief efforts following the storms that damaged parts of the Caribbean, Texas, Florida, and other areas in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to these donations, LifeStraw has provided access to safe water for more than 20,000 residents of Puerto Rico, but the need for support continues.

This Christmas, you can make an impact for people in Puerto Rico by donating to the LifeStraw Safe Water Fund. The fund is managed by an independent 501-c3 public charity and all donations are tax-deductible.

In addition to hurricane relief efforts, you can also choose to support safe water programs in primary schools in Kenya or India, or suggest a new safe water program for consideration. To date, the fund has provided safe water for victims of the Ecuador earthquake and the Haiti floods in addition to supporting the victims of the hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean.

Who is LifeStraw?

LifeStraw is a global company built on the foundation that doing good is good business. Technologically advanced LifeStraw water filters and purifiers are ideal for outdoor recreation, travel, emergency preparedness, and humanitarian purposes.

This year LifeStraw is expanding its safe water technology beyond removal of microbiological contaminants to include removal of heavy metals including lead. The LifeStraw Flex will use a replaceable 2-stage filter that meets NSF-53 standards to reduce lead while also removing up to 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa. For more information or to sign up for updates about this and other new LifeStraw products, visit LifeStraw’s New Solutions.