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Eastern Chad: Clean water for 130,000 people

07-06-2005 News Release 05/45

The ICRC has just completed the bulk of repairs to the water supply systems of four towns – Adré, Tiné, Iriba and Abéché – situated in an area of Chad that has been severely affected by the presence of thousands of Sudanese refugees.

Over 130,000 people now have access to drinking water in these towns.

Until recently these people often had to travel long distances to fetch water, which was exhausting work. " Now we can just fill our buckets and basins at one of the taps installed in town, " said a young mother of four. " This is a great relief for us. It has changed our lives. "

In Adré (20,000 inhabitants), on the border between Chad and Sudan, the local population is now supplied with 300 to 500 cubic metres of water per day. The pumps and generators at the pumping station were either repaired or replaced and the pipe between the bore hole and the water tower was also repaired, along with a dozen fire hydrants.

Similar work was carried out in Tiné (20,000 inhabitants), further north along the border. Pumping tests conducted this week showed that the water network was operational again. The ICRC specialists are staying on, however. They want to improve the network's durability by connecting it to other water sources. " The main thing was to get the water running again, " said Cristóbal Gámez Payá, the ICRC delegate in charge of the project. " People were very impatient. During the repairs, they often broke the pipes to collect water more quickly. "

A water project is also under way in Iriba (10,000 inhabitants), where the ICRC is boosting the capacity of existing facilities. Work should be finished by the end of the month.

In Abéché (80,000 inhabitants), capital of the Ouaddai region, where some 20 humanitarian organizations are currently working, the ICRC installed a new pump last May that has increased the water supply by 40 per cent. Now there are no more water cuts in this semi-arid town and the population has access to water 24 hours a day.

The four towns are situated in an area of eastern Chad where 200,000 refugees (according to UN estimates) from the conflict in Darfur have been sheltering for a year and a half. The presence of these people places a heavy burden on the local economy since the inhabitants have had to share their meagre resources with them. Moreover, the population is still suffering the consequences of last year's drought, which is why the ICRC decided to carry out the necessary water projects.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Nicole Engelbrecht, ICRC N’Djamena, tel.: ++235 20 10 05  

 Marco Jiménez Rodríguez, ICRC Geneva, tel.: ++41 22 730 22 71 / +41 79 217 32 17