water protection

treatment, supply and conservation


Case Study – Emergency Relief

Plate 1. A typical water source during the peak of the 20 plus years civil war.

As a result of the long protracted and bitter civil water in Southern Sudan, the Bahr el Ghazal region lacked all the basic resources for survival, including potable water. For instance, in Tonj County, there was no potable water source within a radius of 23 kilometres of the village of Ngabakok.

The only available water sources are highly polluted with disease coursing pathogens (Plate 1). At the peak of the 20-plus years civil war and the famine, when the world’s resources were mobilized to curtail the acute mortality rates in the region, MEK staff were very instrumental in conducting field surveys to identify and characterize the groundwater systems in the area, and to develop a robust water supply program to alleviate the acute water needs in the region – a prerequisite for the success of the complementary humanitarian interventions such as the provision of primary health services to the population debilitated by water-borne diseases but especially to the critical sick babies and their nursing mothers.

MEK staff provided the critically needed technical know-how in the identification of water sources and the construction of sustainable potable water points through the construction of hand-dug wells, hand-drilled and mechanized drilled wells (Plates 2a, 2b, 3a and 3b).

Plate 3a. Trained “displaced people” engaged in the construction of a hand-dug well.

Plate 3b. A hand-dug well lined with concrete caissons and being deepened to obtain more water.

Our tremendous experience on previous emergency relief programs and our in-depth understanding of the regional and local hydrogeological conditions in areas of intervention has informed us in the selection of the appropriate water systems for the various hydrogeological terrains; thereby significantly reducing the cost of the entire program.

Additionally, our staff trained and equipped the beneficiary communities with the prerequisite skills to self- manage these water facilities with minimum external assistance (Plate 4).

Plate 3. MEK staff engaged in the mechanized drilling of a water well during an emergency water supply intervention.

Plate 4. Trained community members engaged in the installation of a hand- pump on a new water source (hand-dug well) which is under construction.

In the course of six years our staff have been responsible for the completion of over 300 water points in the Bahr el Ghazal region of the Sudan. All these water points were equipped with hand-pump wells.

MEK staff have also designed and constructed sanitation facilities; all tailored to the cultural belief and practices of the displaced population (Plate 5).


Plate 5. A photograph of the town of Meulaboh showing sea water intrusion in to the coastal areas after the tsunami event.

The December 26, 2004, earthquake and its accompanying tsunami in the Indonesia Province of Aceh resulted in an adverse social and environmental impact to the people of the island of Sumatra. The provinces of Banda Aceh and Aceh were two of the most affected regions. The tidal waves caused serious damage to infrastructure (destroyed houses), public facilities, transportation facilities (roads and bridges), telecommunications, electricity, power, water systems etc. The massive influx of seawater contaminated all sources of groundwater supply (Plate 5).

Plate 6. A temporary resettlement center in the province of Aceh soon after the tsunami.

MEK staff were heavily involved during the initial and later stages of the emergency relief assistance intervention in the Meulaboh area, located in the province of Aceh; providing the much needed relief in the water and sanitation sector to an approximately 12,000 Internally Displaced People (IDP) living in 10 temporary resettlement centres including Ujong Kalak, Lhong Bubon, Kp. Teunqott, Suak Pandan and Ujong Baroh (Plate 6).

Our staff also carried out studies to map out the dispersion of saline water in the surficial soils and also the saline water encroachment boundaries in the Meulaboh town and surrounding areas. The outcome of this study was used to determine areas within the province of Aceh that required immediate intervention in the water and sanitation sectors. Additionally, our consultant conducted field studies to identify spring sources that were later developed into dependable water points and served as the major sources for collecting drinking water, later on trucked and delivered to the various temporary resettlement centres (TRC) in the region.

Plate 7. Mobilized TRC residents clearing and cleaning surrounding areas to enhance sanitary conditions around the settlement.

Plate 8. Waste water disposal gutters under construction in one of the TRCs.

Our consultants were also involved in addressing urgent environmental sanitation requirements in the various TRCs during the initial stages of the emergency. This was necessary to prevent outbreak of water and sanitation borne diseases. Our staff were very instrumental in mobilizing TRC residents to improve the sanitary conditions within and around their various TRCs (Plates 7 and 8). A MEK consultant was also very instrumental in facilitating the construction of a number of sanitation infrastructures including ventilated improved pit-latrines, solid waste disposal sites and waste water disposal systems.