Too many refugees, too little water

A photo essay on water problems in Eastern Chad
Anna Husarska
23 February 2010

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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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