UNICEF prioritised restoring access to safe drinking water in Beira, Mozambique

UNICEF prioritised restoring access to safe drinking water in Beira, Mozambique. Photo : UNICEF Mozambique

Johannesburg, South Africa (ADV) – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said restoring access to safe drinking water for Beira’s 500,000 inhabitants was a top priority.

According to a statement issued by UNICEF, one week after Cyclone Idai devastated parts of Mozambique, the water supply system is working again in the hard-hit city of Beira – a life-saving development for children and families still reeling from the storm.

“Without safe water, children are especially vulnerable to water borne diseases like diarrhoea, which can easily become life threatening,” said Chris Cormency, UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) specialist.

“Restoring access to safe drinking water for Beira’s 500,000 inhabitants was a top priority,”

Beira was left without electricity to power the pumps that supply water to the city. Government teams on the ground were quick to identify solutions, and with the logistic, financial and technical support of UNICEF and UK aid, were able to re-establish water supply by the 22nd of March. Water is running in 60 percent of the pipes, and a special water trucking operation is being run by the government until the damaged infrastructure can be repaired.

“We recognised the extreme urgency of the situation and the fact that we could facilitate a solution,” said Cate Turton, Head of Mission from UK aid. “This is a great example of collaboration where the right support was provided by UNICEF and UK aid under the leadership of the government.”

UK aid flights carried material into Beira, and UNICEF provided technical support, fuel and water treatment chemicals.

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