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Sierra Leone launches $61 million water project
by Staff Writers
Freetown (AFP) July 19, 2011

Authorities in Sierra Leone on Tuesday launched a $61 million (43 million euro) project to revamp three water stations and supply pipeborne water to three main cities.

The project aims to put in place sustainable water systems in the southern city of Bo, Kenema in the east and Makeni in the north within four years.

"The implementation of the project will boost the hygiene standards and low level water supply in the three provincial towns," said Communication Minister Ibrahim Ben Kargbo.

"The government has also secured funds for the provision of water facilities for 24 smaller communities in the north."

The project is being funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the OPEC Fund for International Development. Part of the funds are a loan and part are a grant.

The AfDB is giving a $42 million grant while the OPEC Fund for International Development has given a loan of $19 million.

Project Coordinator Joe Ben Davis told AFP: "The project is geared towards improving the access of adequate safe and reliable water supply and public sanitation services for the three cities," which are home to a total of about two million people.

"The project will increase national coverage of water from 33 percent to 75 percent and will involve the training of some 300 community workers in hygiene and sanitation," he said.

Citizens in the west African country -- whose infrastructure was devastated in a 1992-2001 civil war -- rely on unprotected wells and polluted streams when they do not have access to pipeborne water.

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