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Too many refugees, too little water

A photo essay on water problems in Eastern Chad
Anna Husarska
23 February 2010
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Bahai is a small town in Eastern Chad 2 kilometers from the Darfur border. The only safe access is by little planes run by humanitarian groups.

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The airport is practically non-existent but the building and the sign are there, so are the UN-trained local police.

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The Ouré Cassoni camp, some 25 kilometers north from Bahai is home to over 10.000 Sudanese refugees who mostly came in 2004, at the height of the Darfur crisis.

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Lake Cariari, the only source of water for the camp is drying up and pumping it is becoming very expensive.

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At the end of the dry season the water is very filthy and it has also receded far away from the filters.

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The filtering is done in huge tanks, a system installed by the International Rescue Committee five years ago.

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Women are known to be much better daily workers than men so they are employed to assemble the tanks.

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The camp has 23 communal taps with a total of 142 taps where the refugees come to fill in their yellow jerry cans.

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Everybody carries water, although sometimes it seems to be more than they can lift.

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Among the camp-inhabitants Obama is undoubtedly popular. “Inshallah he will solve all Darfur’s problems,” they say. Inshallah indeed.

Anna Husarska is senior policy adviser at the International Rescue Committee

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