x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE agrees to water deal for 140,000 Pakistani flood refugees

More than 100,000 thirsty refugees displaced by the floods in Pakistan will get long-term water supplies from the UAE under a new agreement.

More than 100,000 thirsty refugees displaced by the floods in Pakistan will get long-term water supplies from the UAE under a new agreement, officials said yesterday.

The UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) signed an agreement yesterday with the British charity organisation, Oxfam, to find solutions for a permanent supply of clean water suitable for drinking, washing and cooking for the 140,000 refugees in UAE-facilitated camps in Pakistan.

Dr Saleh al Taee, the secretary general adviser of the RCA, said the 20,000 families were provided with water through traditional methods, such as distributing bottles and drawing from a well the authority dug.

"But these solutions are not enough for 140,000 people," he said.

"In the beginning of the crisis, some families that were in unreachable areas received water bottles that were thrown to them from helicopters. One bottle is not even enough for one person for a day.

"In Pakistan they have excess water, which is what caused the problem, but it is all polluted and is causing diseases."

Barbara Stocking, the chief executive of Oxfam, explained that there are several methods for providing potable water. Building water channels, desalination and chlorine tablets that can be placed into polluted water to purify it are all potential solutions.

The agreement will give way to co-operation between the two in areas other than Pakistan.

"I think there is an interest in issues in Yemen and in Palestine, especially in Gaza," she said.

Nothing specific has been discussed yet, but Ms Stocking said she could see potential co-operation in RCA projects for displaced people and housing projects in Hadramout.

 

hdajani@thenational.ae