Covid-19 and Conflict a Double Hit on Water Workers

The International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC) published a report today on the importance of water workers in conflict zones and the challenges they confront during the Covid-19 pandemic. The virus has left a secondary impact on health, water, sewerage and electricity services, and overwhelmed those personnel in the field along the way.

The report highlighted water and sanitation work in conflict and post-conflict areas like Syria, Iraq, Central African Republic, and Ukraine. Lack of funding, damaged infrastructure, delays in repairs, and distribution of hygiene products are only some of the issues facing countries in conflict as they also struggle with the pandemic. In Iraq, the Directorate of Water has the task of both restoring services from the conflict in Mosul, in 2017, and dealing with Covid-19.

“We’ve managed to keep water treatment plants and pumping stations running 24 hours a day to ensure that people get clean water,” said Engineer Muaed, director at the Directorate of Water. “But we’re facing a 75 percent cut in employee working hours and shortage of funds for routine operation and maintenance.”

The ICRC noted that as in conflict, the most vulnerable communities are hit hardest. Covid-19 hinders current water services, as well as prevents the extension of services to those in need.

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