SUDAN WATCH: Drilling for Sudan's drinking water is more important than drilling for oil

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Drilling for Sudan's drinking water is more important than drilling for oil

You can support the work of UNICEF by buying their Cards & Gifts online. Last year, instead of buying greetings cards and gifts from other stores online or local shops, I ordered one year's supply online at UNICEF. Three days later, the goods were delivered to my door by courier in a nicely packed box. T-shirts, toys and games for children were high quality. Excellent cards too. Sign up for their mail order catalogue and get stocked up on blank greetings cards, gifts etc. Spending in this way makes hard earned cash stretch into helping others.

Note, Peacekeeping waterpumps - East Africa a front in war on terrorism.

See how in Darfur, handpumps are on the frontline of peacebuilding.

South Sudanese drinks

Photo: Southern Sudanese drinks. (Courtesy UNICEF/ST)

Cholera kills 68 people, infects more than 2,933 in S Sudan's Juba and Yei

AFP news 21 Feb 2006 reports 68 dead in suspected Sudan cholera outbreak.

Cholera is transmitted by consumption of contaminated water and food and is linked to poor hygiene, overcrowding and inadequate sanitation. It leads to severe diarrhea and dehydration. Medecins Sans Frontieres said "a large outbreak can be expected" in Juba, a town with more than 250,000 people that "relies heavily on polluted water from the River Nile." Full report (AP/ST) 22 Feb 2006.
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Using entrepreneurs to bring water and electricity to the world's poor

Sokari Ekine of Global Voices notes an amazing invention that may provide the water and power to many people in poor rural areas of the developing world and points us to Timbuktu Chronicles' 22 Feb 2006 blog entry on Using Entrepreneurs to bring Water and Electricity to the worlds poor.
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UNICEF and ECHO bring clean drinking water to villagers in Sudan's Nuba Mountains

UNICEF report by Thomas Nybo 21 Feb 2006:

For people living in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, central Sudan, getting enough clean water has long been a difficult task.

Working with ECHO, the European Community's Humanitarian Aid Department, UNICEF has turned the situation around, building and rehabilitating the region's water system to ensure more than 110,000 people have access to safe drinking water. Excerpt:

Many areas of the region have been affected by conflict which makes fetching water not only difficult but dangerous too. On top of that the existing water sources are inadequate -- many are equipped with hand pumps that are barely functional.

Drinking water is more important than oil

Photo: Children try a new hand pump installed by UNICEF and ECHO. (Courtesy UNICEF Sudan/2006)

The joint effort started with rehabilitation of some 200 hand pumps. Fifty new boreholes have been drilled and equipped with brand new hand pumps. Most of boreholes are built with concrete basins to collect spilled water, which can then be used for cleaning, gardening and the watering of livestock.

More time for education

"Now my children have plenty of time for other activities," says Ajuba El Zubier Mala, a mother of six. "In the morning, they collect water to bathe. Then they go to school. After school, they get more water and sometimes bring our small animals to the pump to give them water."

Having plenty of water hasn't made residents of Nuba Mountains forget about the hardships they once endured. When water was scarce, many women and girls had to carry the burden of collecting water for the families. Many girls missed out their education because they had to spend many hours each day fetching water.


Photo: With adequate water sources, children can spend more time on education. (Courtesy UNICEF Sudan/2006)

Clean water is also crucial to keep children and adults healthy. Mothers like Ajuba know all too well about ailments like diarrhoea and Guinea Worm disease, which are caused by unsafe water. Since the completion of the water project, few waterborne diseases have been reported across the region.

Water project continues

UNICEF and ECHO also conducted training sessions for local residents. About 300 people, half of them women, have gone through the training sessions and learnt how to maintain and operate the water pumps. Courses are also given to help children and families develop good hygiene practices. Nearly 500 people have been informed so far on how to prevent Guinea Worm disease.

One hand pump serves about 500 people

"One hand pump serves about 500 people, which is a very great number," explains Sulieman Hamad, Deputy Director of Water, Environment and Sanitation Project for the Government of South Kordofan. "We want to reduce this number to 250 because beside the communities we have animals. We must water them from these facilities."

UNICEF and ECHO continue to bring clean water to more children and families. In Blue Nile State, eastern Sudan, 50 new wells were drilled and equipped with hand pumps, while another 50 hand pumps were rehabilitated. Since the project began, more than 200,000 people have benefitted from the efforts of UNICEF and ECHO so far.


Blogger IJ said...

Information on Africa, especially Sudan, is coming from so many excellent sources.

This article tells us that Africa is claiming a bigger role in the United Nations. The UN Millennium Declaration in 2000 was really a springboard for the African Union's petition for "two permanent seats with full privileges including veto power, and add five more non-permanent seats on the world's elite political platform, the UNSC."

However, even if the fundamental problem of economics is set aside, there remains an assumption that the 53 countries in the AU can agree common policies: it is pointed out that they still have no common foreign and security policy - but this is not unusual for an international grouping. See, for example, the confusion in the European Union or NATO.

Does Africa have the economic power for its ambitions? Chequebook diplomacy suggests that China is developing much influence not only in Sudan, but in many countries.

Friday, February 24, 2006  

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