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Ethiopia: access to safe drinking water for communities in the north

20-09-2012 News Release 12/190

Addis Ababa (ICRC) – Some 1,500 people living in Tahtay Adiyabo, in the north of Ethiopia, now have access to clean drinking water thanks to four wells built in the district, located along the border with Eritrea, by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Tigray Regional Water Bureau.

After four months of work, the wells were officially inaugurated today at a ceremony attended by local authorities.

"The residents used to travel long distances to fetch unsafe drinking water," said Negash Berhe, the ICRC water engineer who supervised the project. "But now they have access to clean drinking water from the new water points. It is much safer and more convenient for them."

Since 2004, the ICRC, in cooperation with the regional water bureau and the local communities, has been carrying out various water and sanitation projects that have benefited about 250,000 people in remote areas of Tigray and Afar regional states, on Ethiopia's border with Eritrea. Sixty-two new wells, six springs and four water catchments have been completed in the last eight years. In addition, hand pumps have been upgraded and activities have been carried out to promote good hygiene and to enhance the ability of the regional water board to manage water resources.

The ICRC has been working in Ethiopia without interruption since 1977. Its activities in the country focus on protecting detainees, restoring and maintaining contact between family members and providing physical rehabilitation for disabled people. Since the 1998-2000 Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict, the ICRC has been carrying out relief activities, mainly in Tigray and Afar regional states, where it pools efforts with the water boards and local communities to improve vital water infrastructure.

For further information, please contact:
Zewdu Ayalew , ICRC Addis Ababa, tel: +251 911 614 336 or +251 116 478 300