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Burundi: water projects completed

13-06-2002 News Release 02/24

Working in conjunction with Regideso, the country's water and electricity board, the ICRC has upgraded the water-supply systems in the northern Burundian towns of Ngozi and Kirundo. The systems were officially put into service on 10and 11June. Before work began, both towns regularly suffered major shortages of drinking water.

In Ngozi (population 24,000), six new spring-catchment devices have been installed, a pumping station repaired and another built from scratch. One storage tank and 13tapstands were repaired. After nearly two years of work, the town's water supply has increased by over 40%. Other work is in progress to ensure that the pumping stations function properly and to improve the town's electricity supply.

In Kirundo (6,000 inhabitants), the ICRC has among other things built a new pumping station, laid pipe and repaired 10 tapstands. The result is an increase in available water from some 60litres per inhabitant per day to about 100 litres.

The ICRC's " water and habitat " activities in Burundi include a number of projects to improve the supply of drinking water to urban centres. One is the installation of a new slow sand filter in the capital Bujumbura and the upgrading of pumping stations there. This work will boost the city's water supply by 40%, the major benefit going to poorer neighbourhoods.

In the last 18months, the ICRC has also made improvements in three hospitals, two health-care centres and six prisons. Further work is under way, or being planned, at two hospitals and a health-care centre in the country's interior.