|ICRC Activities in Rwanda: 1993 - 6 April 2000 (International Committee of the Red Cross , 230 p.)|
RWANDA: WATER IS A PRIORITY
In order to prevent the outbreak of diseases and help the countrys recovery, since april 1994 the ICRC has intensified its water and sanitation activities to supply fresh water to people in need. Nine engineers are currently working all over the country. We are cooperating as closely as possible with the national water and electricity company Electrogaz to ensure that our efforts will have a long-lasting effect, explained Yves Etienne, a sanitation engineer at the ICRC in Geneva.
Situation in Kigali still critical
The water supply situation in Kigali has definitely improved but remains critical, estimated ICRC water and sanitation engineer Sylvie Loth. Production at the Kimisagara main waterworks is now more than 970 cu.m per hour. The main problem is the power supply and the fuel. Some 30,000 litres of diesel have so far been supplied by the ICRC, but solutions have to be found to fill the gap. Until the lines between Kigali and the main power station at Mukungwa have been reestablished, 6,000 litres of fuel are needed per day to keep the water in Kigali running. With the help of ten tankers the ICRC is also distributing 60 cu.m of water daily to ten different places (hospitals, dispensaries, orphanages) in the Rwandan capital.
Nine waterworks have resumed production
Besides the capital Kigali, waterworks in eight other towns - Gisenye, Ruhengeri, Cyangugu, Kibuye, Gikongoro, Kabgayi, Gitarama and Butare - have resumed production thanks to the ICRCs assistance. ICRC engineers have carried out surveys and given the necessary support to the employees of Electrogaz. In all, 150 tonnes of aluminium sulphate, 12 tonnes of chlorine and 62 tonnes of lime have been distributed to date, as well as spare parts, fuel and generators. Another major achievement was the restoration of the electricity lines between Ruhengeri and Gisenye. As a result electricity is now being supplied to the Ghgihira water treatment plant near Gisenye, which started working again after some repairs at the beginning of August. This is extremely important for the return of the refugees from the neighbouring camps in Zaire.
Water supply in the camps and prisons
Throughout the crisis the ICRC supplied water to five camps inside Rwanda. Whereas the situation has been stabilized in most of the camps, the need for fresh water is currently very high in the camps south of Gikongoro. Five sanitation engineers are working there at present to ensure that 65,000 people have an adequate supply of water. The construction of latrines in all these camps was essential to prevent the outbreak of diseases.
Surveys of the water supply systems in the prisons are also under way. The knowledge acquired during regular visits by the ICRC to the Rwandan prisons since the early 1980s will certainly help its engineers to remedy any water shortage there in the very near future. In the last few weeks more than 2,000 prisoners have been registered by the ICRC in seven prisons in various parts of the country: Kibungo, Rilima, Butare, Gitarama, Kigali (prison and police station) and Ruhengeri.
Further information: Yves Etienne, ICRC sanitation
Tel: + +41 22 730 2352 and ricardo conti, icrc nairobi, tel: + +2542 724 008
A new brochure on Rwanda is available at the ICRC press division: tel: + +41 22 730 2317