In 2002, the ICRC met the water needs of some 14 million people worldwide. Its water and sanitation activities aim to ensure that victims of armed conflict have access to safe water and proper sanitation.
Access to water is vital!
The ICRC’s ultimate goal is to reduce the number of people who fall sick or die because the water system has collapsed. But this means more than building and repairing wells – health education is a key factor in preventing disease.
The Where and What of Water:
seven of the top programmes
Afghanistan - rehabilitating urban water systems
in Kabul and four other major cities (drilling new deep wells, repairing distribution networks and rehabilitating storage tanks). ICRC builds wells and repairs traditional water-collection systems to restore or improve the water supply in villages, enabling residents in drought-affected areas of the north to stay on their land. Major repairs were carried out at the country's ten main hospitals in 2002, and more than two and a half million people were covered by ICRC water and habitat projects.
Iraq - carrying out emergency repairs and maintenance
on water treatment and sewage systems and boosting water supply by building water infrastructure where needed. In recent years local authorities have been given continuous support to maintain up to 100 urban water supply systems. Thanks to these projects, some five million Iraqis have access to safe water.
Israel and the Occupied Territories / Autonomous Territories - trucking in water for families in isolated villages
not connected to water supply systems. ICRC also facilitates access by maintenance and repair staff to existing water networks and sanitation facilities. In isolated rural areas, it improves winter rainwater storage capacity by constructing underground water tanks.
Democratic Republic of the Congo - supplying chemicals and essential spare parts
to help ensure safe drinking water for the population of Kinshasa and ten large towns in the east of the country. In the capital, rehabilitation work at two treatment plants and six booster stations is continuing; once completed, these facilities will serve four million people. In 2002 the ICRC completed major repair works at a power station at Kinsangani, ensuring safe water for some 600,000 people.
Angola - keeping water flowing in Caala and Kuito
by rehabilitating urban water supply networks and building communal water points. ICRC also protects wells and maintains latrines in resettlement areas for displaced people (IDPs), trains them to look after the installations themselves and runs basic hygiene classes. In an emergency, ICRC can provide drinking water for up to 3,000 displaced families.
Ethiopia - running cash-for-work projects
to help communities manage water resources more efficiently and boost crop yields. The organization also supplies nomadic communities with the means to dig and maintain their own wells.
Sudan - involving communities in health promotion
and maintenance work, after creating more than 100 water points and 12 health posts as part of a primary hea lth care programme. The ICRC has also completed major construction works at two referral hospitals for the population in the south. In cooperation with the Sudanese Red Crescent, ICRC ensures the supply of drinking water for 35,000 displaced people in the Bentiu area.