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Philippines: safe drinking water for remote community

09-08-2011 News Release 11/164

Manila (ICRC) – Safe drinking water is now only a few steps away for over 1,200 residents of Mabini, a remote community in Western Samar province, after the completion of a spring catchment built with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Community residents used to travel between one and two kilometres up a mountain or down a river to retrieve water from unprotected sources.

"We tapped a natural spring source and laid pipe to carry the water," said Carlos Suarez, a water engineer working for the ICRC. "Now all residents have to do to get water is go to one of the 17 tap stands in the area. It's much safer and more convenient for them."

Work on the water system, which began in 2010, was carried out by the ICRC in partnership with the local community and the municipality. Residents voluntarily joined in, for example by helping with the digging and the laying of pipe. Municipal engineers, working closely with ICRC engineers, provided technical support.

"The involvement of the local community and the municipality was a crucial factor in completing the work that has brought safe drinking water to so many people," said Mr Suarez.

With the water system now in place, helping the community maintain it is the current focus. The ICRC and the municipality are providing the necessary training.

"Local residents have been involved from the start in building and maintaining the system," said Annarosa Cerrero, an ICRC water engineer. "As a result, they feel that it not only benefits them but also, more importantly perhaps, that it belongs to them."

For further information, please contact:
Allison Lopez, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 908 868 68 84


Photos

Even though the island of Samar is surrounded by water, the people of Barangay Mabini had to cross a river to find clean, safe drinking water. 

Even though the island of Samar is surrounded by water, the people of Barangay Mabini had to cross a river to find clean, safe drinking water.
© ICRC

Barangay Mabini, Philippines. A girl fills a jerrycan at one of the 17 tap stands set up by the ICRC. 

Barangay Mabini, Philippines. A girl fills a jerrycan at one of the 17 tap stands set up by the ICRC.
© ICRC / M. Pancipanci