8 February 2013

Liberia: 1.8 Million Demand Water in Monrovia

United States Ambassador to Liberia Deborah Malac has alarmed that Children suffer and die from diarrhea, due to poor hygiene practices and unsafe water in Liberia, while women and newborn also die from infections...

At the climax of a three-day Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) joint review held at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex Thursday, Ambassador Malac observed that every day, women and girls disproportionally spent precious time collecting water for their family.

"That time could be spent in much more important activities...; we believe that water is a precious resource that we cannot take for granted; that everyone should have access to safe water," said Ambassador Malac.

The US envoy pledged that over the next 40 years, the African Development Bank (AFDB) and USAID will be working with the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) to make a difference in the priority of many lives by rebuilding the water supply infrastructure in major urban cities that were destroyed during the civil war here.

Considering the alarming water and sanitation problems in the country, she said, in partnership with the AFDB, USAID will rehabilitate [damaged] facilitie, while the AFDB will be [directing support towards equipment], among others.

She thanked the Ministry of Public Works for leading the organization of the sector review, as well as recognized the supports of the World Bank, the UNDP, USAID, European Union, AFDB and other partners toward the WASH investment.

In proxy of World Bank Liberia Country Manager Inguna Dobraja, the bank's Senior Economist Dominick de Waal said with the increase in population in Monrovia as a result of rural-urban migration, the total number of people to be supplied with water is now over 1.8 million.

Citing an instance, de Waal revealed that in Monrovia and surrounding areas, the Sector Investment Plan (SIP) sets out the investments required providing access to water for 93% of Monrovia's population by 2017. He recalled that prior to the civil conflict in Liberia, LWSC provided water to 300,000 persons reaching a peak of 700,000.

In response to the challenge of over 1.8m population to be supplied water, he, however, said the World Bank supports the LWSC through the Infrastructure Implementation Unit (IIU) for the rehabilitation of White Plains Water Plant.

Launching the Liberia WASH Sector Investment and Capacity Plans earlier, Liberia's Vice President Joseph N. Boakai expressed the full endorsement of the Government of Liberia of the development agendas, "earnestly urging support to these efforts by our development partners," both internally and externally.

He said the support from the World Bank, UNICEF, key government partners and stakeholders in conceptualizing and financing the sector investment and capacity development plans could not have been better timed and better placed...

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