21 December 2020, Baghdad, Iraq – The Netherlands has committed USD $6,41 million to support UNICEF and The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to ensure that almost a million residents of Basra governorate have access to safe water. This support comes at a time when less than 11% of Basra’s population has access to clean drinking water on site and the majority of households (8 out of 10) only receive 10 hours of water per day in their homes. And as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the need for clean water has become even more urgent for residents.
“Access to clean and safe water is a basic human right, and this access can only be ensured when there is a good water management system in place. The Netherlands is very pleased to help by sharing our extensive expertise in this field and contributing to improving the lives of citizens in Basra,” explained the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands H.E. Michel Rentenaar.
Conflict, climate change, water pollution and scarcity, and environmental waste have created a water crisis in large parts of Iraq. Basra, located in the southern part of the country, is the worst affected governorate, and a lack of proper sanitation and hygiene facilities have only compounded the situation. Health care facilities and schools often don’t have clean water and soap on site, all of which can contribute to making vulnerable populations, among them children and women, more vulnerable to preventable diseases such as acute watery diarrhoea.
“The support of the Dutch government will make a real difference in the lives of 960,000 Basrawis, including countless children and their families. With these resources and in partnership with the authorities in Basra and with UNDP, UNICEF will be able to help the Directorate of Water in its conservation efforts by equipping it with smart devices to measure water consumption, track leakages, and put a stop to any waste. We will also be able to ensure that more children in at least 100 schools have safe water, families can cook and clean with peace of mind and with the knowledge that they can wash their hands without fear of getting sick by coming into contact with water,” said Ms. Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF’s Representative in Iraq.
In addition, decades of underinvestment in Basra’s main water facilities such as pumping stations and water rehabilitation plants has resulted in decaying infrastructure. As part of their commitment to durable solutions, both UNICEF and UNDP are working to build the capacity of Iraq’s ’s water infrastructure. This latest support from the Netherlands will help the agencies to provide immediate relief to residents of Basra while maintaining their long-term work.
“With this generous contribution from the Netherlands, we will work alongside UNICEF and the Government to ensure that more Iraqis can freely exercise their right of access to clean and safe water. UNDP will use its proven methods to rehabilitate four major, non-functional water complexes, focusing on those who are most vulnerable and ensuring no-one is left behind,” explained Ms. Zena Ali-Ahmad, UNDP’s Resident Representative in Iraq.
For additional information, please contact:
Zeina Awad, Chief of Communication for Iraq I +964 782 782 0238
Innocent Kafembe, Communication Specialist I +964 751 0150 949
Fay Daoud, Communications Specialist, UNDP Iraq I +964 780 1976 460