BANGUI, Central African Republic, 1 July 2014—The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection Department (ECHO) and UNICEF have improved access to clean water for around 800,000 people in the conflict-hit capital of Bangui in May and June.
The installation of a new pump and maintenance of existing pumps at the national water company has increased water production by nearly 20 per cent in Bangui in late May. In the coming weeks, an extra 4.8 million litres will be produced every day.
“Before the crisis that began over two years ago, only 67 per cent of people had access to safe drinking water,” said Souleymane Diabate, UNICEF Representative in the Central African Republic. "The outbreak of violence has further worsened the situation. Restoring safe water is essential to stem the spread of diseases, like cholera and diarrhoea, which are particularly deadly for children.”
Diarrhoea already caused 10 per cent of all deaths of children under five in the Central African Republic before the crisis.
With ECHO support, UNICEF is also helping to maintain the entire water supply in Bangui, Bouar, and Bossangoa by supporting the national water company and repairing rural water points in surrounding areas. UNICEF's efforts to deliver water in CAR range from repairing and installing generators and pumps to delivering chemicals and fuel to restart and strengthen water systems.
“Access to clean water can make the difference between life and death for vulnerable people, especially children living in conflict affected countries. Working with UNICEF, we are committed to providing clean water to Central African children and families wherever access permits,” said Andrea Koulaimah, Head of Unit responsible for Central Africa, Sudan and South Sudan at ECHO.
Note to editors UNICEF needs an additional USD $ 11 million in 2014 to keep delivering safe water and sanitation to Central African families and prevent children from dying of waterborne diseases.
About UNICEF UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work, visit: www.unicef.org
About the European Commission's Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) funds relief operations for victims of natural disasters and conflicts outside the European Union. Aid is channeled impartially, straight to victims, regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation. ECHO is among UNICEF’s largest humanitarian donors. For more information on ECHO, visit: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm