Mercy Corps Launches Emergency Water Program


July 11, 2003

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    By some estimates, only half of Liberia's population has access to clean water. Photo: Mario Tedo/Mercy Corps Photo:

In response to evidence of increased cases of cholera and other waterborne diseases, Mercy Corps is launching an emergency water supply program in Liberia to help victims of civil war cut off from clean water.

Mercy Corps will provide critical water and sanitation support to more than 75,000 people living in approximately 98 communities in three counties, including many that have been severely impacted by the renewed fighting between LURD rebels and Government troops in Monrovia, which has left an estimated 700 civilians dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

"The fighting in June really has taken a toll on communities across the country," said Mercy Corps Liberia Country Director Denise Barrett. "Our assessments have shown that water and sanitation are among the most pressing needs for Liberians. Even before the conflict access to clean drinking water was limited. With hundreds of thousands forced from their homes, the problem has been exacerbated and this raises some very serious health concerns."

Since the late 1990s there has been virtually no running water in Monrovia and many parts of Liberia. By some estimates, less than half the population has access to clean drinking water.

Mercy Corps will work with local partners and community groups to improve water and sanitation conditions by:

  • Repairing existing hand pump wells
  • Installing new hand pump wells
  • Constructing public latrines
  • Supporting community-based water and sanitation committees

Mercy Corps has worked in Liberia since September 2002, operating a development program that helps build the capacity of civic organizations and communities to participate in development and conflict management processes that improve social and economic conditions, build peace and strengthen democratic governance.