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West Bank: 64 new water cisterns ready to collect the December rains

01-12-2003 News Release 03/150

Hebron district is one of the West Bank areas worst affected by water shortages. Households often still rely on traditional rainwater collection and storage methods but many poorer families cannot afford to build water-storage cisterns.

To help them, the ICRC is funding a cistern construction programme throughout the district. By the end of November, 64 new water cisterns were ready – just in time for the December rains. The families built the cisterns themselves with the help of an experienced NGO, while the ICRC provided about $120,000, which covers 70 per cent of the funds needed.

Mohammed and his family live in Ad Dahahrya. This winter, they will not have to buy their drinking water. Their new cistern holds about 70,000 litres and was constructed using the traditional method of digging a pear-shaped cave in the rocky ground. Where the ground is too soft, an underground concrete tank is built instead. Mohammed hopes that the winter months will bring some heavy rain so that the new cistern collects enough water to last his family until June.

During the June to November dry season, the ICRC transported water by tanker truck to help households and schools in West Bank villages with no mains water. Working in co-operation with the Palestinian Water Authority, the ICRC supplied more than 150 million litres to 6,000 families living in remote villages in Hebron and Salfit districts, at a total cost of $640,000.

The ICRC has been active in Israel and the occupied and autonomous territories since 1967. It works together with and supports the Magen David Adom in Israel and the Palestine Red Crescent Society in the occupied and autonomous territories. The organization also monitors compliance with international humanitarian law, mainly the Fourth Geneva Convention for the protection of civilians. In addition, it visits people deprived of their freedom to monitor their treatment and living conditions.

 Further information: Vincent Bernard, ICRC Jerusalem ++972 57 735 235