SUDAN WATCH: Water shortages hit Darfur

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Water shortages hit Darfur

Sep 7 2006 via AND - Water shortages hit Darfur:
Despite the arrival of the rainy season in south Darfur the country is still faced with critical water shortages, International Committee of the Red Cross has reported.

In response to the critical water shortage facing the displaced camps in South Darfur, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) at the start of the conflict installed emergency water supplies in the expanding camps around Gereida town.

Currently about 100 000 internally displaced people (IDPs) now live in five makeshift settlements that are spread out over many square kilometres around Gereida town.

Only Joghana, which houses people who fled from the village of the same name when it was attacked in April 2006, is still without ready access to water, says ICRC report.

The arrival of the rainy season has its advantages and disadvantages.

Even though it has brought sudden beauty to the landscape its arrival is a also a curse as it is turning water courses into stagnant lakes and sandy roads into impassable bogs, as well as bringing water-borne diseases, ICRC said.

According to the humanitarian organisation, in mid-August, the water truck which delivers water to the people on temporarily basis was unable to make its daily round to the Joghana camp for several days because of the rain.

The vehicle got stuck in the soft, sticky sand and could not move. People were obliged to walk several kilometres to the next camp to get water, added the report.

Although it is a temporary measure the truck will continue to supply water if the weather permits until the permanent water system has been installed.

The ICRC report came after the World Health Organisation and Unicef’s recent report that the world is in danger of missing targets for providing clean water and sanitation unless there is a dramatic increase in the pace of work and investment between now and 2015.

According to the report, more than 1.1 billion people in both urban and rural areas lack access to drinking water from an improved source and 2.6 billion people do not have access to even basic sanitation, notes the report.

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