A Worcestershire company which specialises in emergency water supplies is among a select few named in a new network aimed at speeding up the UK’s response to global humanitarian crises.
Evenproducts, based in Evesham, is one of an initial 34 businesses, non-government organisations and charities, which the Department For International Development (DFID) will call on in times of international crisis, such as famine, floods and earthquakes.
The new disaster response network allows organisations with experience in responding to crises to access the new Rapid Response Fund, activated in the event of a large scale crisis, and mobilise in the critical first 72 hours following a disaster.
Evenproducts was selected after playing a role in getting emergency equipment to areas of the world blighted by famine and typhoons.
Sutton Coldfield MP and Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell, said the new network would reduce red tape and allow better access to disaster zones.
Mr Mitchell said: “Clearly we need our best experts, equipment and aid on the scene as quickly as possible after a disaster, not tied up in red tape.
"By working with a small pool of specialists, we will end the dangerous crush of aid organisations which often pour into a disaster zone.
“These organisations represent the very best performing disaster response agencies.
“This will allow them to focus on delivery. Make no mistake, however, qualification for the fund will be revoked at the first sign of poor performance.”
The new network aims to ensure the selected organisations will be approached within two hours of a major disaster so they are in a position to take immediate action.
Evenproducts’ most recent disaster response was on Christmas Eve 2011 when the company was co-opted by a major aid organisation to get emergency equipment to the typhoon-hit Philippines.
Their drinking water tanks have also been despatched to South Sudan by Oxfam.
The firm designs and manufactures emergency water storage, distribution and sanitation equipment and exports half its products overseas.
The company, which is more than 50 years old and employs 25 staff, also specialises in horticultural and irrigation supplies for UK growers, greenhouses and nurseries.
Jenny Rohde, humanitarian aid director at Evenproducts, said: “We were delighted to be approached by DFID to join this small network of humanitarian aid specialists.
"We have valuable expertise in disaster response honed over many years and have built a committed and dynamic team which springs into action at short notice to deliver essential water and sanitation equipment to disaster-struck communities.”
Birmingham-based charity Islamic Relief UK, which was set up in 1984 in reaction to the famine in Sudan and Ethiopia, was also among the organisations chosen to be in the network.