Ethiopia: thousands gain better access to drinking water in Tigray

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Addis Ababa (ICRC) - Eight new water points built by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in north-western Tigray over the last six months were handed over to local communities this week.

They are now providing safe water for more than 11,000 residents in the district of Tahtay Adi Abo.

"We used to spend more than two hours a day fetching water from the river Tekeze, but since the well was completed we can get safe drinking water in less than 20 minutes," said Shewit Fisseha, a local resident. "The ICRC has been helping us not only by providing the new water points, which improved the availability of drinking water to our community, but also by repairing the existing hand pumps," said Ato Abreah Alley, the chief administrator of the district.

The water points - six boreholes and two hand-dug wells - were installed for communities that have faced serious difficulty obtaining safe water.

The ICRC carried out the work in cooperation with the district water board and with the full support of the communities concerned. It also trained local people to operate and maintain the equipment. It is planning to complete another three water points in the central part of Tigray before the end of 2008.

For further information, please contact:

Patrick Mégevand, ICRC Addis Ababa, tel. +251 11 647 83 00
Micha Wedekind, ICRC Mekele, tel. +251 34 440 83 53