Lebanon: Thousands Survive Despite Insufficient Water
International humanitarian aid organization Action Against Hunger’s (ACF) teams of water-and-sanitation specialists are at work in the areas of Qana, Sadiquine, Kafra, and Yatar, just 10 kilometers from the Israeli border. They are working around the clock to deal with the complete lack of water derived from the destruction of crucial infrastructure during the war. The teams, along with ACF’s nutrition teams, have had to withdraw several times due to security incidents in the areas.
Action Against Hunger water-and-sanitation specialists have confirmed the complete destruction of the preexisting water distribution systems – water tanks, piping, and other infrastructure. There are only a few subterranean water reserves left, which are very deep and difficult to access even with generators. While these reserves are providing some relief, these sources are being overexploited as they were already providing water for a number of towns before the conflict.
- Action Against Hunger water-and-sanitation teams are working around the clock in the region of Qana, 10 km from the Israeli border, to ensure the provision of sufficient drinking water
- There is only botteled water in the region, which is unaffordable for a population lacking sufficient resources. Action Against Hunger is responding to meet these emergency needs.
In Kafra, at 6 km from Qana, there are no water reserves of any type. A local provider from a village nearby with access to a private pond is able to provide 4,000 liters for non-drinking purposes (cooking and cleaning) for the 3,000 inhabitants of Kafra once a week. Action Against Hunger is working to ensure15 liters of clean water for every person (the minimal standard established by the World Health Organization)via water distributions and water trucking. Each distribution costs only about $20.00 to deliver water to 3,000 villagers.
In Yatar, two municipal reserves provide non-drinking water to local populations, but they are required to pay out of pocket for the generator fuel and trucking costs associated with these distributions. The majority of the inhabitants in Kafra, by contrast, are not required to pay for such services. The distribution of drinking water, on the other hand, is much more expensive and difficult to provide, as they must buy bottled water in Qana or Tiro and transport it by truck to Yatar.
Action Against Hunger, the only international NGO working in this region, witnesses firsthand the daily hardships confronting the local populations – difficulties made all the more taxing by the fragility of the cease-fire. To facilitate the populations’ access to drinking water, ACF is currently studying the feasibility of installing a series of inflatable water storage bladders, given the existence of unexploded ordinance scattered throughout the region.