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Germany grants €250,000 for water, medical programmes

Germany has granted €250,000 (US $277,475) to the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) in support of efforts to provide safe drinking water and rehabilitate health facilities, state-owned Radio Centrafrique reported on Friday.

The funds, which are to be managed by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), will support the Societe de Distribution des Eaux en Centrafrique (Sodeca), the government's water utility, whose equipment was looted during the October 2002 to March 2003 civil war. Since then, Sodeca has been unable to provide clean water in northern towns, which were particularly hard-hit by the hostilities, thereby exposing local populations to water-borne diseases.

Medical services in Bambari, 280 km northeast of the capital, Bangui, indicated in May that cases of diarrhoea and typhoid had increased in the area due to lack of clean water. The director of preventive medicine and disease control, Dr Abel Namssenmo, told IRIN on 1 September that poor hygienic conditions had caused diarrhoea in Boromata, a village of 2,000 people 740 km northeast of Bangui.

Diarrhoea, which in turn provoked malnutrition, killed at least 73 children between May and August.

The radio reported that water systems would be rehabilitated in Bangui; Bossangoa, 260 km north of Bangui; Bozoum, 320 km northwest of Bangui; Bouar, 454 km northwest of Bangui; Carnot, 300 km northwest of Bangui; Berberati, 310 km west of Bangui; and Ndele, 510 km northeast of Bangui.

ICRC Health Delegate Francois Jacot told IRIN on Friday that the German donation was part of a $2.2-million six-month programme announced in July. Jacot said water-purification chemicals were already in Bangui.

The programme also includes drug supplies and equipment for health facilities in the war-affected north, where an Italian NGO, Cooperazione Internazionale, has been distributing drugs since May.

ICRC will also reunite separated families among the 41,000 CAR refugees in southern Chad.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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