Navigation Links
SMU scientists to lead water quality study at UN refugee camps
Date:10/19/2011

DALLAS (SMU) The search for solutions to dangerous water quality issues in refugee camps is driving an SMU lab group's partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees an agreement that will put the university's faculty and students to work both in the lab and on the ground in Kenya, Uganda, Liberia and Bangladesh.

Supported by a $270,000 grant from UNHCR and additional SMU funds, faculty member Andrew Quicksall and his graduate students in SMU's Lyle School of Engineering are collecting water samples in UNHCR camps, bringing samples back to SMU for analysis and also training workers in and around the refugee camps to test water supplies. The group will integrate information from other sources to develop a database that will help UNHCR planners provide safer drinking water in existing and future refugee camps.

"They've asked us to build out a whole picture, truly worldwide, for what's in the drinking water in refugee camps," said Quicksall, the J. Lindsay Embrey Trustee Assistant Professor in the Lyle School of Engineering. "So we're going to go on-site, collect water, analyze some in the field and bring quite a bit of water back to our SMU laboratories and get a full picture."

The database developed by Quicksall's group will identify contaminants in drinking water and allow UNHCR officials to track water quality in the camps over time. Some water quality problems are indigenous to the regions where the camps are situated, some develop over time, and some are the nearly instant consequence of thousands of people collecting in unsuitable locations to escape war and famine faster than sanitary infrastructure can be built.

For example, the agreement with UNHCR commits Quicksall's team to investigate critical water issues in Dadaab, Kenya home to the largest refugee complex in the world. Nearly half a million people are concentrated in three camps there, many living in makeshift shelters of twigs, reeds and scraps. Refugees pouring across the border to escape war and famine in Somalia continue to face shortages of food, water, shelter and sanitation hazards there.

"The technical challenges of supporting refugee populations of this size will require that our teams stay engaged with the UNHCR for years to come," said Geoffrey Orsak, dean of the SMU Lyle School of Engineering. "Fortunately, our new Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity makes it possible to lead efforts of this magnitude nearly anywhere on the globe."

Some camps have safe drinking water available, but the taste is so off-putting that residents seek out other sources. In Nakivale, Uganda, for example, the high iron content in well water drives refugees to drink surface water that is frequently contaminated with coliform bacteria. Quicksall's group also will investigate methods of improving the taste of such safe, but unpalatable, drinking water.

Preliminary research results have revealed problematic concentrations of iodide in drinking water at Dadaab and fluoride in both Southern Uganda and Kakukma, Kenya. Some types of contaminants may not create problems short-term, Quicksall explains, but create severe health issues for people over the long term particularly children and the elderly. His study group will have the opportunity to both recommend and implement remediation methods for those problem water sources, he said.

"To work with the science in the lab and see it applied internationally I don't think there is an opportunity like this anywhere else," said graduate student Drew Aleto, a member of Quicksall's study team.

UNHCR and the Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity at SMU have signed an agreement establishing a framework for increasing the role of engineering and innovation in support of refugee camp operations. This agreement calls for the engagement of universities, government-run research institutes and corporations to address technical and infrastructure issues faced by UNHCR in helping refugees in relation to water, sanitation, shelter, communications and health care.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kim Cobb
cobbk@smu.edu
214-768-7654
Southern Methodist University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. How hemp got high: Canadian scientists map the cannabis genome
2. UGA scientists team up to define first-ever sequence of biologically important carbohydrate
3. Scientists in Singapore and Europe to collaborate
4. Scientists Spot New Clues to HIV-Linked Dementia
5. Scientists Engineer Mice That Have Autism
6. Raw Sewage a New Frontier for Scientists
7. Cedars-Sinai scientists, physicians to be key presenters at World Stem Cell Summit
8. 2 scientists at the University of Texas at Austin receive early career awards from White House
9. Scientists shut down pump action to break breast cancer cells drug resistance
10. President Barack Obama recognizes outstanding scientists at the Smithsonian
11. U.S. Scientists Map Genome of Advanced Prostate Cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
SMU scientists to lead water quality study at UN refugee camps
(Date:6/24/2016)... Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those ... deal with these feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol ... of Marne, Michigan, has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 ... ... CitiDent, is now offering micro-osteoperforation for accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive ... self-ligating Damon brackets , AcceleDent, and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Haute ... Dr. Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and the network’s newest ... world, and the most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic surgery should be ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and other difficult to transfect cells, announces its ... The PluriQ™ G9™ Gene Editing System is a complete system for ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Today, InhaleLabs.com (Inhale) offilially ... their medication by matching users with high quality water pipes within an ideal price ... commitment. , Inhale was founded by two brothers, Nick and Mike Hunter, who use ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... "Dialysis Devices Global Market - Forecast to 2022" report ... is the treatment method for the patients with kidney failure, ... and excess fluid from the patient,s blood and thus the ... sodium, potassium and chloride in balance. Increasing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: ... its Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) assay as a dedicated ... shock. With this clearance, Roche is the first IVD ... solution for sepsis risk assessment and management. ... and PCT levels in blood can aid clinicians in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Bracket , a leading clinical ... generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) 6.0, at ... 26 – 30, 2016 in Philadelphia , ... Outcome Assessment product of its kind to fully integrate with ... Bracket eCOA 6.0 is a flexible platform for electronic clinical ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: