By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 3 December 2017:
It is reported that water is slowly returning to Tripoli after the Man-Made River authority said that valves on the system had been reopened and the Hasawanah reservoir was refilling. The valves were earlier closed for the second time in less than two months by the Brak Al-Shatti-based gang headed by Mabrouk Ahnish who are demanding his release from prison in Mitiga airport where he is being held by Rada forces.
According to the MMR authority, it would take three more says for the water to return to normal.
The Ahnish gang had warned over a week ago that they would cut the supply.
As a result, over two million Libyans, including 600,000 children, in Tripoli and its surrounding areas were left without running water.
“These water cuts are forcing people to resort to potentially unsafe or contaminated water, increasing the risk of an outbreak of waterborne diseases and adding to the suffering and decline in living conditions of children in Libya,” said Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, UNICEF special representative for Libya.
A UNICEF statement said that because pipes at the Shwerif water pumping station, 370 kilometers south of Tripoli, had been cut off, it meant that the daily supply of 1.15 million cubic metres of water to the north-western areas of the country were stopped.
“Access to Water is a fundamental Human Right and International Humanitarian Law protects civilian infrastructure and the right of civilians to access basic services,” Ghandour added.
UNICEF has been now liaising with authorities from the MMR authority and the international community to ensure Libya’s water system is able to function effectively, spokesman Mostafa Omar told the Libya Herald.
He also revealed that UNICEF had assessed the water quality in 140 schools and found “alarming” findings.
UNICEF will now begin a thorough assessment of Libya’s water systems to identify the “technical and financial challenges faced.