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Ethiopia: assistance for families returning to Zalambessa

12-09-2003 News Release 03/105

Four trucks loaded with plastic sheeting and thousands of blankets have reached Zalambessa, a border town destroyed during the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict. The first 1,200 families returning home to rebuild their houses will use the sheeting to build temporary shelters.

The ICRC and the Ethiopian Red Cross Society are also supplying tents for use as a dispensary and as accommodation for health ministry medical staff, along with stretchers and emergency medical supplies that will cover the needs of 10,000 people for three months.

Many of those who fled Zalambessa now live under precarious conditions in the surrounding towns of Fatsi, Adigrat and Mekele, and even in Addis Ababa. Now, with funding from the World Bank, they can start a new life in their home town.

The first priority is access to clean water. The ICRC repaired a pump back in 2001, but it is the only working pump in Zalambessa, and that is not enough. The ICRC plans to repair the entire Zalambessa water supply network, working in conjunction with the Tigray Development Resources Bureau.

 Further information:  

 Gianni Volpin, ICRC communication coordinator, Addis Ababa, tel.: ++251 1 51 83 66  

 Ato Hagos Gemechu, ERCS Tigray branch secretary, Mekele, tel.: ++251 4 40 88 63  

 Ato Nahu Senai, head of the ERCS PR and information service, Addis Ababa tel.: ++251 1 15 31 39