UN Migration Agency, Japan Hand Over New Water Purification Facility in Sierra Leone

Humanitarian Emergencies, Internally Displaced Persons, Migration Health, Migration and Climate Change, Migration and Environment

Freetown – IOM, the UN Migration Agency and the Government of Japan last week (10/08) handed over the first water purification facility in Sierra Leone to the resettled community of Mile 6, Koya Rural.

The facility, located about 50 kilometers outside Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, will provide safe drinking water to the population resettled at Mile 6 in the aftermath of the flash floods that ravaged Freetown in September 2015.

Those floods caused widespread property damage and displaced thousands from their homes.

In Sierra Leone, “40 per cent of 30,000 hand pumps and boreholes are not functioning due to lack of maintenance and spare parts,” an official of the Sierra Leonean Ministry of Water Resources explained.

The plant would improve the inhabitants’ well-being by addressing the problem of inadequate sanitary facility. Hitherto, the inhabitants have relied on using water fetched from unprotected wells and running streams located miles away from their settlement.

Prior to being launched in Sierra Leone, the water purification plant had been tested for feasibility in Tanzania and successfully introduced by IOM in Somalia. The water plant uses the same component, Poly Glu, to convert dirty and polluted water to safe and good quality water for human consumption. Poly Glu is a ‘coagulant’ that attracts the dirt and takes it to the bottom. As a result, the clean drinkable water will be on top. The plant is simple, safe and effective to utilize for small-scale treatment of drinking water. The water produced using this system has been certified as safe for drinking by the Sierra Leone Ministry of Water Resources.

Commenting on the sustainability of the project, Sanusi Savage, IOM Sierra Leone Head of Office, said, “Water is life. From this moment on, I would like to encourage the leadership of this community to take ownership of this facility and sustain it for the sake of our children.”

Margaret S. Kargbo, Deputy Chairperson of the Western Area Rural District Council, highlighted the importance of women’s leadership for maintaining the water treatment facility because of their strategic role at home as well as in the community.

The plants are part of the project, Strengthening Disaster Preparedness and Response in Sierra Leone. IOM installed the water plants in collaboration with the Office of National Security (ONS), through funding provided by the Government of Japan. The four other water plants are scheduled to be operational within six months.

For more information, please contact:
Sanusi Savage, IOM Freetown, Tel: +232 99606066, Email: ssavage@iom.int or Brima Bendu, Tel: +232 76530884, Email: bbendu@iom.int or Yuki Daizumoto, Tel: +232 99606066, Email: ydaizumoto@iom.int