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Tunisia: water for residents and refugees in the south

01-06-2011 News Release 11/128

Tunis (ICRC) – In the border area of south-eastern Tunisia, a massive influx of refugees from Libya is putting huge pressure on water resources already stretched by increased needs resulting from the onset of the dry season.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is providing support for the national water board to boost the supply of drinking water in the areas of Ben Guerdane and Remada, which have been particularly hard hit.

"The ICRC, in cooperation with the national water board, is building a 5.3-kilometre water pipeline to link existing wells with the main reservoir of Ben Guerdane," said Gert de Vries, the ICRC engineer in charge of the project. "The new water system, which will be put into operation at the beginning of July, will make it possible to considerably increase the volume of water supplied to transit camps in the cross-border region."

A second pipeline, over 10 kilometres long and equipped with an automatic disinfection system, will be built to improve water supply in the Remada area. It will be operational in November of this year.

According to the Tunisian authorities, over 60,000 Libyan refugees fleeing fighting and shortages in the mountainous region of Jebel Nafussa have recently arrived in southern Tunisia. Their water needs, like those of the host families accommodating most of them, will also be addressed by the pipelines coming into operation. Needs in high-lying and remote areas will be covered in the same way as those in the lowlands.

The total cost of this operation comes to 1.25 million Tunisian dinars, or approximately 635,000 euros.

For further information, please contact:
Rym Assal, ICRC Tunis, tel: +216 24 200 817