Rachel Hosein Nisbet (RHN): How did you come to work with APAF Senegal?

Mansour Ndiaye (MN): I am a farmer’s son. After studying agronomy, I spent 23 years working in industrial agriculture. Since 1945, Senegal has grown peanuts as a monoculture crop, to supply France. I saw forests felled and chemical fertilizers and pesticides added to newly ploughed fields. But farmers’ yields still dropped. After witnessing the harm done to farmers and topsoil by industrial agriculture, I became an...

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To learn about IRHA’s New Integrated Water Resource Management Project in the Kaski District of Nepal, Rachel Nisbet (RN) spoke with Kanchan Nepal's Team Leader, Gajendra Singh Pun (GSP).Having built rainwater-harvesting systems to supply his household with water, Mr Pun is convinced of the value of using rain as a water resource. He has never had to buy water from a tanker since installing his rainwater harvesting system, and would like to see people in the urban centers of Pokhara and ...

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Mapping Rain for Collective Gain

by Rachel Nisbet | 27 February 2020

Making Participatory Maps to Talk Water

Creating an Integrated Water Resource Management plan involves many community-based organisations. In our Nepali project with Kanchan Nepal, we liaise with mother’s groups, youth clubs, water user committees, cooperatives, farmer’s groups, and forest user groups to get communities thinking about how their water supply depends on both groundwater flow and rainfall.

To cultivate local hydro-wisdom, it is important to find a common language to tal...

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Image Blandine Barthod Learns that 'Every Drop Counts' in the Kaski Mid-Hills.

After a sitting in front of a computer preparing IRHA’s latest Nepal project, I was excited when the plane to Kathmandu finally revved its engines and took off from Geneva airport. Landing in Nepal’s capital with my colleague Marc Sylvestre, the churn of people and vehicles was overwhelming. By the time we finally found a little restaurant and the “momos” (ravioli made with rice flour) we ordered got burned and filled the restaurant with smoke, it was clear my Nepal adventure would ...

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Blandine Barthod’s assessment of IRHA’s 10 Blue Schools in Nepal took her through the mountain region to the East of Pokhara. She visited the following schools between 16 October and 13 November 2019, with the help of our local project partners Kanchan Nepal:

Accompanied by a translator, she first attended the opening of a new Blue School at Bijaya village, with its news rainwater harvesting tank and toilets (images 1 & 2 below).

She then visited an abandoned school at Arundaya, where...

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Book Review

Bob Bouleware’s Alternative Water Sources and Wastewater Management (2012) offers an excellent overview of the intersection between precipitation harvesting (rain, fog, dew) and wastewater management. By bringing these topics together, this book offers a timely introduction to water management practices that contribute to water, nutrient and energy recycling. Stopping the linear flow of nutrients from land, into watercourses and out to sea is urgent: the hypoxia resulting from...

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Toilets, Connecting SDGs 6 and 15 : An Interview with Philippe Morier-Genoud

RN: Thanks for taking the time to talk with IRHA about the importance of recycling black water and the nutrients it contains, thus linking SDGs 6 (sanitation for all) and 15 (sustainable use of ecosystems). I’m curious how you have updated a topic alluded to by the everyman hero of James Joyce's novel Ulysses, as he heads out to use the EC in his garden:

He bent down to regard a lean file of spearmint growing by...

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Posted to Pokhara: Planting Rain in Nepal

by Blandine Barthod | 29 September 2019

My departure for Nepal is now approaching very quickly. After studying international relations, environment and water management, I am excited to finally use my knowledge practically. I already had some travelling experience as a backpacker. However, this fieldwork is very special, as I will discover an unfamiliar society with different cultural traditions. I am excited about this journey and the inspiring new people I will meet.

Throughout this journey, I will have the opportunity to disco...

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After three months working in our agroforestry project in Senegal, I’ve returned to Switzerland. My fieldwork has allowed me to experience this country’s extremely arid environment. In the Fatick region, the seasons contrast starkly. Normally, the rainy season, spanning the months of July to September, is when crops are planted in rural areas. However, 2019 proved to be an exceptional year, with the rains arriving extremely late. The first real rains only fell in the last week of August....

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Planting Waterscapes

by Rachel Nisbet | 29 September 2019

This blog post introduces a technical journal article written by Castelli et al. (2017) examining how the Pirai river basin in Bolivia is managed. This catchment contains forests, woodlands, grasslands and wetlands; it is the water source for three million people, supplying the urban centre of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. One particularly useful feature of this study is its demonstration of the feedbacks between changing landscape cover in recent decades and shifting hydrological patterns. Its m...

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Geneva’s Rainwater Harvesters

by Rachel Nisbet | 29 September 2019

There are many private and cooperative rainwater harvesting initiatives in the Geneva region. While sharing information about rainwater harvesting at the 5th Alternatiba Léman Festival, in the city’s Parc des Bastions, we exchanged with local advocates of rainwater harvesting. We learnt about the collective and cooperative, Le Terroir, who harvest rain for watering their organic, market garden. They sell their produce in Présilly on Tuesday evenings.

We chatted with a local inhabitant, ...

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What’s value of a tree? Tree planting is a feature of our Blue Schools, whose five components comprise rainwater harvesting, sanitation, hygiene training, tree planting and school gardens. On re-visiting two IRHA Blue Schools in Kaolack, Senegal earlier this month, Marc Sylvestre (IRHA’s Executive Director) was delighted to observe the positive impact on-campus tree planting has within the local community. The Kaolack Blue Schools were established in 2011, in partnership with Caritas Kao...

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Thirty-five farmers in Senegal’s Fatick-Thiès region are ready to harvest rain! In late May, IRHA’s Florian Biesler travelled to Senegal with our director, Marc Sylvestre, to kick off the project’s calabash construction. These rainwater reservoirs will provide the first volley of farmers participating in the 'Rain, Forests, People’ agroforestry project with the means of storing harvested rainwater. This resource will provide drinking water for their families, even at the end of the ...

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Field Notes from Florian Bielser

by Florian Biesler (trans. R. Nisbet) | 1 July 2019

Florian Bielser is a twenty-six-year-old MSc student of environmental engineering at the EPFL, Switzerland. He is currently on placement as an IRHA field manager. Here’s an edited translation of his Senegalese Field Journal:

Boyard N’diodiom, 25.06.2019

Marc and I arrived in Dakar at dusk on the 24th of May. Our short night’s sleep, followed by a bus journey, left me feeling groggy as we visited IRHA Blue Schools in Senegal’s main peanut processing and trading centre, Kaolack. But th...

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As pioneers in environmental communication, the NGO CICEANA has extensive experience of teaching sustainable agricultural practices within school communities. Our organisations came into contact when IRHA established a Blue School in Oaxaca. CICEANA saw great scope in rainwater harvesting as a technique for providing drinking water and improving community health. We are delighted that they subsequently initiated a project to create a Blue Community in Oaxaca’s Huautla de Jiménez region. ...

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One example of a cosmology that anticipates nature-based solutions in the context of DRR is the mythical narrative of the Great Yu. This story tells how Yu rejected the engineered, grey solution of dike building to prevent China's recurrent flooding. This was the (unsuccessful) flood prevention approach developed by Yu’s father, before Yu was born. Changing tack, Yu decided not to battle against nature, but to invest time in understanding fluvial processes. Working with the rivers, he gui...

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Bolivian Blue School Report

by Rachel Nisbet | 28 May 2019

We are delighted that the Bolivian Blue School and health post we established in collaboration with Sumaj Punchay has now been operational for over six months. Sumaj Punchay means 'towards better days’ in the Quechua language. This NGO has a holistic approach to development. They approached our NGO as IRHA’s Blue School model fulfills their own development targets of education, disease prevention, securing food sovereignty and managing natural resources. The school and associated health...

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Working with committees in seven villages located in the Fatick-Thiès region of Senegal, we have now selected thirty-five local farmers, who we will train and assist in building agroforestry parcels on their land. A further seven villages will be identified in 2020, and another cohort of approximately thirty five farmers will be selected, trained and assisted to develop agroforestry parcels. The village meetings of spring 2019 took place in school classrooms, in village squares under speakin...

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The Calabash Tank Manual

by Rachel Nisbet | 28 April 2019

The Calabash Tank Manual is published by the Dutch organization Clean Water Healthy Village (degevuldewaterkruik).Paul Akkerman, who wrote the manual, co-founded this rainwater harvesting project in Bedanda, Guinea-Bisseau, in 2005. Working with Bicosse Nandafa, he sought to provide an alternative drinking water source as aquifers in the country’s coastal region experienced pronounced saltwater intrusion during the dry season. Through this intervention, Paul and his colleagues were able t...

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Poems about Rain

by Rachel Nisbet | 21 March 2019

Precious Rain

Emily Dickinson makes rain generous and loving, like a mother, in 'Rain Poem’.

Drops fall on a house 'half a dozen kissed the eaves/and made the gables laugh’. By accounting for raindrops, almost one by one, this poem introduces each one as something precious. The poet, in following the course of these falling drops, imagines 'were they peals/what necklaces could be!’. If we succeed in teaching people to value raindrops as much as pearls falling from the sky, we will b...

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Sumaj Punchay is a Bolivian NGO, with expertise in locally mitigating the effects of climate change, food security and sovereignty, sustainable family agriculture. They work in a country where 3 million people live in rural areas, where agricultural labour is the main source of employment. Approximately, 70 % of these people live below the poverty line. Accordingly, Sumaj Punchay plays a key role in ensuring the livelihood of these rural, farming populations. The NGO works to ensure children...

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Image Improving Water Security and Resilience in Kaski District, Nepal In Collaboration with Kanchan Nepal

Our collaboration with the local NGO Kanchan Nepal has assisted them in 'empowering communities with Water, Sanitation and Health Services’. Despite the high rainfall it receives during the monsoon, the Kaski District is water-stressed. It is comprised of steep-sided valleys, primarily composed of limestone (karst); thus, water preferentially flows underground, making surface runoff collection difficult (Rimal et al 2018).[1] Providing a reliable supply of drinking water for rural communi...

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Rachel Nisbet: As an architect, how did you come to focus on creating of low-tech structures, which are able to collect and store snow and ice?

Conradin Clavuot: When my architecture class at the University of Lichtenstein discovered Sonam Wangchuck’s Ladakian Ice Stupas, this was an important step in conceiving how we might initiate creative, meaningful, socioenvironmental architectural projects in our own water-stressed regions. That in creating ice stupas, natural processes can excl...

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Rachel Nisbet: Sálvano, you have spent a career working in nature conservation and environmental planning at the international level, focusing latterly on how communities can develop their resilience to natural hazards. We are very fortunate to benefit from your expertise as an IRHA board member. Thanks for your time in a few questions about your vision for IRHA.

What motivates you in supporting IRHA?

Sálvano Briceño: I believe IRHA performs an important function in promoting sustainabl...

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Senegal’s rural communities live in rapidly changing natural environments. 22 % of Senegalese (13 million people) inhabit areas where soil fertility has been dramatically reduced in the past three decades, mainly through water erosion.[1] Located in Sub-Saharan Africa, the country’s grasslands increasingly experience annual bushfires, compounding the erosion of their soils. Additionally, between 2001 and 2009, the area of cropland increased by 175 %, with large areas of this zone becomi...

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Strengthening the Rainwater Alliance

by Han Heijnen | 7 January 2019

Brazil’s national rainwater harvesting association, the Associação Brasileira de Captação e Manejo de Água de Chuva (ABCMAC), held its eleventh conference in João Pessoa, Paraiba State this November. Delegates gathered to discuss the theme 'Rainwater: A Step toward Brazil’s Water Security and Resilience’.[1]

Presentations focused on the usage of rainwater in agriculture, in the home and within ecosystems, and the development of policies that can encourage rainwater harvesting ...

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The Sri Lanka Rainwater Harvesting Forum organizes its regular international conference every three years. In 2018 the Conference brings together some 70 participants from South Asian countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and India, as well as Ethiopia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Sri Lanka as the host country was well represented with the Minister of City Planning and Water Supply and Dinesh Gunawardhana, the Leader of the Parliament and a long-term proponent of rainwater harvestin...

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(Photo: Transformée en voie douce pour les piétons et les cyclistes et capable de retenir un peu l’eau, la rue Garibaldi, à Lyon, le 25 juillet. JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP)

La métropole lyonnaise a entrepris depuis cinq ans un travail minutieux pour permettre à l’eau de pluie de s’infiltrer dans le sol où elle ira rejoindre la nappe souterraine.

Faire de la pluie une alliée : c’est une sacrée ambition que le Grand Lyon s’est donnée. Ne plus laisser l’eau tombée du ciel r...

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Image Progress of Blue School - Trapiche Bajo

Lack of water, obsolete sanitary infrastructure, unacceptable hygiene conditions and strong local demand. The IRHA, in partnership with Sumaj Punchay, designed a Blue School to provide a concrete and effective response to the local communities.

We build 2 ferrocement tanks of 20 m3 and rehabilitation sanitary facilities to provide drinking water and hygiene acceptable to children and fight against water-related contamination (diarrhea).

A rain T-shirts

by IRHA | 1 May 2018
1- You support our association and our actions and we thank you!

2- You become an actor of change

3- You wear a tee shirt "super fashion" that makes sense!

> Buy now

* The production will be launched after receipt of payment and as soon as we reach an order of at least 30 pieces.

L'IRHA participera cette année à Resilient Cities 2018 - Le Forum mondial annuel sur la résilience et l'adaptation urbaines.Plus de 500 participants et plus de 30 partenaires chaque année ont contribué à faire de Resilient Cities un événement marquant réunissant des dirigeants locaux et des experts en adaptation climatique pour discuter des défis d'adaptation auxquels les environnements urbains sont confrontés dans le monde entier.Resilient Cities soutient également la Déc...
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Image Blue School Trapiche Bajo (Bolivia) - Launch

Launched in March 2018, the project of the Blue School Trapiche Bajo (Potosi - Bolovie) is progressing well. The first visits and evaluations were conducted by our local partner Sumaj Punchay and the work will have to start very soon.

As can be seen in the photo, many municipalities have installed playgrounds (blue-roofed buildings) with large roof areas. Faced with a lack of water, IRHA re-uses intelligently and efficiently the catchment areasto collect thousands of liters of rainwater that ...
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Workshop #2

27 March 2018
Image Workshop #2

To accompany children to become enlightened citizens, to make them aware of their environment so that they become agents of change by being able to implement concrete and sustainable solutions in their city or neighborhood.

Workshop #1

26 March 2018

To accompany children to become enlightened citizens, to make them aware of their environment so that they become agents of change by being able to implement concrete and sustainable solutions in their city or neighborhood.

Image Ecole Bleue, Mexique, 2015

Durée: 2014-2015, Lieu région de Oaxaca (Mexique), en partenariat avec Neta Cero, IRRI

Objectif: le projet a eu pour objectif de permettre à 2'500 enfants de bénéficier d’un accès quotidien à l’eau potable, ainsi que de toilettes aménagées, grâce à la labellisation de 3 écoles en Écoles Bleues. la mise en place d'une station de traitement d'eau de pluie à permis d'améliorer considérablement la qualité de l'eau distribuée et soulager grandement la charge de l'eau au sei...

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Sashmita, Népalaise, 13 ans, 8e année.

Sashmita et sa famille vivent au Népal près de Pokhara. Tous les jours, elle doit se rendre à 6 heures du matin, avant l'école, pour remplir d'eau les bidons à la source qui descend de la montagne, et les ramener dans un panier attaché à son front.
Chaque pots pèsent au moins 15 kg et elle est mince ! Sa communauté n'a pas d'accès direct à l'eau potable, et l'eau utilisée directement depuis la rivière n'est pas d'une qualité satisfaisante...
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Bolivie, 2018

21 January 2018
Image Bolivie, 2018

Durée : Février 2018 – Septembre 2018, Lieu : région de Potosi Partenaire local: Sumaj Punchay

Le projet a pour objectif de permettre à plus de 1'680 enfants et enseignants de bénéficier d’un accès à de l’eau potable en quantité satisfaisante et à des sanitaires de qualité. Les jardins d’écoles diversifient l’alimentation des élèves en démontrant par la pratique, la culture de ces végétaux oubliés. Afin de répondre au mieux aux besoins communautaires, le pro...
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Image Ecole Bleue (Katmandou) Népal, 2016 - 2018

Durée: 2016 – 2018, en partenariat avec Guthi Nepal Katmandou, (Népal)

Objectifs : Le projet a eu pour objectif de permettre à 2 860 enfants de bénéficier d’un accès à l’eau potable et à des toilettes hygiéniques, ce grâce à la labellisation de 2 écoles en Ecoles Bleues. 2 réservoirs ont été construits, un de 50m3 souterrain dans l’école de Vishwo Niketan, un second de 25 m3 à l’école de Janat Prabhat.

Le succès des projets mis en place depuis 2016, nous mène ...

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Népal, 2014 - 2018

21 January 2018
Image Népal, 2014 - 2018

Durée: 2014 – 2018, région de Pokhara (Népal), en partenariat avec Kanchan Nepal

Objectifs : Le projet a eu pour objectif de permettre à 7 716 enfants de bénéficier d’un accès à l’eau potable sécurisé et de toilettes aménagées, ce grâce à la labellisation de 7 écoles en Ecoles Bleues. Cette labellisation garantit l’accès à l’eau, à l’éducation aux familles des communautés des villages de l’Annapurna.

Le succès des projets mis en place dans cette région d...
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Sénégal, 2011-2013

14 January 2018

Durée: 2011– 2014, Lieu région de Kaolack (Sénégal), en partenariat avec Caritas Kaolack

Objectif: le projet a eu pour objectif de permettre à 1'180 enfants de bénéficier d’un accès quotidien à l’eau potable, ainsi que de toilettes aménagées, grâce à la labellisation de 6 écoles en Écoles Bleues. L'apprentissage des bonnes pratiques d'hygiène aura permis aux enfants de réduire significativement les routes de contamination et de diffuser ces usages au sein de leurs ...

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Image Joyeuses fêtes de fin d'année

Toute l'équipe vous souhaite de joyeuses fêtes de fin d'année...

Au plaisir de vous retrouver en 2018 !

L'équipe de la Rainwater Initiative

Image Campagne "une calabash pour une jeune fille"Campagne "une calabash pour une jeune fille": nous lançons en décembre la campagne de don "une calabash pour une jeune fille". Soutenir l'IRHA, c'est participer au succès d'une ONG reconnue d'utilité publique par le droit suisse, et contribuer à des actions concrètes et efficaces vers un développement durable.

faire un don

Image Une pluie de poésie, la ville et des hommes…

Au début, nous étions deux lors de la pose des poèmes …puis trois, puis une quatrième personne nous a rejoint, lorsque nous avons testé les tags avec une bouteille d’eau. Nous avons discuté, parlé de ce qu’on faisait, échangé les contacts et promis de se revoir. Le projet « Pluie de poésie » c’est aussi créer du lien social dans la ville : un poème, quelques gouttes d’eau, la ville et des hommes.

Depuis lors, de nombreuses personnes se sont manifestées: » l’...

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Image L'accès à l'eau potable dans les camps de déplacés, Népal

Des latrines communautaires ont été construites, pour améliorer la situation sanitaire au niveau des 6 camps de déplacés à Bakhtapur, ce en partenariat avec les autorités locales, la communauté, et notre partenaire Guthi.

L'objectif du projet Raincommunity s'axe sur l’amélioration de la santé des familles en facilitant l’accès à l’eau, à un assainissement et à des pratiques d’hygiène adaptées.

Ce projet est financé par le canton de Genève, la ville de Genève et...

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Image Surprendre et sensibiliser ...

Samedi 04/11/2017 au matin, une légère bruine s'est déposée sur Genève, juste le temps de révéler les poèmes. En visitant les différents sites, j'ai pu constater l'intérêt des passants qui, s'arrêtent, lisent et continuent leur promenade, surpris de cette expérience poétique.

L’objectif de ce projet, à l’initiative de l'Alliance pour la gestion de l’eau de pluie (IRHA), et en collaboration avec le théâtre AmStramGram, est de sensibiliser la population genevoise à l’...

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Image Inauguration du projet "Pluie de poésie" par le Maire de Genève, Suisse

L’Alliance internationale pour la gestion de l’eau de pluie a lancé le projet « Pluie de Poésie » en ville de Genève, inauguré le 12 octobre 2017 aux Bastions en présence de M. Pagani – Maire de Genève. Retrouvez les poèmes peints sur 8 sites de la ville, et toutes les informations sur le site du projet et Facebook.

Dans le cadre du projet des Ecoles Bleues, actuellement en cours au Népal dans la région de Pokhara, IRHA a fourni du matériel pour la construction d’une serre. La communauté s’est impliquée en construisant une structure bambou. En collaboration avec notre partenaire Kanchan Népal, nous pilotons un projet pour démonter à la communauté, les bénéfices de l’utilisation d’engrais biologiques à base d’urine permettant un apport nécessaire en azote.

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Image La voix des déplacés #3

Un autre résident local, Sunil Bohaju, a déclaré: «Il nous est difficile de dormir dans ces nuits glacées sous des draps en fer blanc, la plupart des personnes âgées et des enfants du camp souffrent. Les coupures d'électricité prolongées jusqu'à 13 heures constituent un autre défi pour le camp. "

Pour 60 familles, le gouvernement a distribué des lumières d'électricité à travers seulement deux générateurs", a-t-il dit qui sont tous les deux tombés en panne . Depuis de nombre...

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Voix des déplacés # 1

18 February 2017
Image Voix des déplacés # 1Narayan Khaitu, président du Comité d'amélioration de Liwali Ganesh Camps IDP, a déclaré: «Nous avons creusé un puits il y a deux ans dans cette zone. L'eau dans le puits se recharge de 1,5 pouce par jour, ce qui est un très bon signe pour nous. »

Citant que le principal défi du camp est l'eau potable de bonne qualité, il a dit:« Les gens au camp IDP dépendent totalement de l'eau du puits pour chaque objectif. Si seulement nous pouvions avec un réservoir de stockage et un traitement de l'eau, cela soulagerait toute la communauté. "

Image La voix des déplacés #2

Hari Sundar Bohaju, résident d'un camp de Liwali, a déclaré: «L'eau du puits est impropre pour boire, cependant, nous l'utilisons pour cuisiner et avoir de l'eau pour se laver, cuisiner, etc..» Il a ajouté que pour boire, ils marchent jusqu'au robinet public à une demi-heure de marche du camp.

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