Terre des hommes (Iraq)

15.06.2017 - News

Bringing sustainable source of drinking water to displaced families in Tooz

The Sheikh Abed settlement in Tooz district hosts many displaced families who fled the Iraqi war-torn areas. As no good source of drinking water was available, Terre des hommes used to provide water by trucks. Now, we found a more sustainable solution: thanks to discovering a water source at a depth of over 100 metres, 650 displaced families and their children have access to a stable source of drinking water.

The Sheikh Abed settlement was built more than two years ago by those who fled the fighting and settled at the foot of the hills south of Kirkuk. “When the Tdh team came to Sheikh Abed in 2015, children were in danger of malnutrition, and had neither a good source of drinking water nor adequate sanitation facilities. They were suffering from extremes of cold in winter and heat in summer, they had no safe place to play and only very limited access to schooling,” says Eric Laurent, Tdh Programme Development Officer.

The Tdh team has been providing displaced families in Sheikh Abed with drinking water since 2015. “The water shortage in the village exposed displaced children and their families to health problems. As water trucking is expensive, we were looking for a cheaper and more sustainable water source,” explains Melissa Parrot, the Tdh Wash Program Manager.

The Tdh team found the water source at about 1.5 km from the Sheikh Abed settlement, south of Kirkuk. “The borehole is connected to a water treatment unit that ensures the high quality of the drinking water. The pump must be in operation for 7 hours a day to obtain the minimum of 15 litres of drinking water per person a day,” says Sebastian Soulier, hydrogeologist from the Tdh team.

Drinking water is essential for our survival here. Our old village is only several kilometres away but we cannot return,” says Omar, 60-year-old man from Sheikh Abed, pointing to behind the frontline where his old village of Suleyman Beg still stands.

Although ISIS was pushed out of the area nearly two years ago, sectarian tensions do not allow people from the Sheikh Abed to come back home. “Once ISIS is defeated in Iraq, it is only a national reconciliation that will help children and their families from Sheikh Abed to return,” concludes Eric Laurent.

We continue our efforts in the field to support families that are fleeing from IS with the most needed help. You, too, can contribute to this effort by doing an emergency donation.

Photo credit: ©Tdh/Peter Kaeser

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