All hands to the pump - East Africa Food Crisis

Uploaded by OxfamGreatBritain on 08.09.2011

When I was in Addis Ababa we heard the plane with all the aid that had been sent
out from the Bicester warehouse in Oxford was going to be coming in and landing
and so I was very lucky to be able to go up to the airport and see the aid being off loaded and
loaded onto five to six trucks
and then because I was travelling down to Dolo Ado
which is a place very far from Addis Ababa, it's one kilometre from the
Somali border... We did actually pass some of our trucks on the way because
it was taking something like three to five days depending on road conditions.
So we did see the trucks actually arriving and then people offloadinging
washstands, water tanks, piping, Oxfam buckets
And then because we were going to be working in a new camp near Dolo Ado we had to move
the equipment very quickly from where it was being stored and up to the new site at
And that's about forty-five minutes to an hour to drive there. So it's quite a
distance. The whole area around Dolo Addo is very remote. It's a very harsh climate
There's a lot of wind, it's hot.
Very sandy...
And as you can see in some of these photographs there's a lot of rocks. You know, not just
rocks on the ground that you can move away but quite embedded in the ground.
So it's very challenging and so we were moving the equipment up there very quickly
because the plans where that the refugees were going to be moving out of the
temporary transit centre and
into proper campsite for them.
And Oxfam was responsible for the water systems and
and for public health promotion.
There was a huge challenge and it was you know a race against time to get
water up and running before the first refugees were transferred and
um... it was really amazing to see how the team worked together. You know people who
normally have other jobs were actually coming together to support the uh... public
health engineers to actually get this what we call a T70 which is uh... water
tank which holds 70,000 litres of water and so various members of staff
like Lou here suddenly became public health engineer assistant.
You know one of our drivers
Abra, we found out later that he had a background in construction and so
he was putting tapstands together I turned round another minute and he was cementing
something else
I was convinced there were four of him rather than
just the one of him. But everybody was just hands on and as you can see there's all this
activity going on to get that watertank up and running.
If you look here, we used a lot of the rocks and stones to construct a plinth
so that the water tank could be placed higher up so that we could get the gravity going so
that then can run through to the tapstands.
And then the rest of the tank goes up.
You can see the wall of the tank
and then the next stage was to put in the lining, this black sheeting
and that has to be really tied off
at the end.
And it is a challenge because there is all this sand blowing about
is to try and
you know work very quickly so that you're not getting too much sand in there.
And then the last part of that is to put the top on it.
And then you can see the blue pipework that goes through to the tapstands
and that's actually where people would collect water from.
And I'm really pleased to say that
by the time the first refugees started to be bussed up
and arrive in Hiloween,
there was water for them. It seems like a very simple thing but people really did
work together, worked hard, worked long hours. Everyday.
And it really was a race to get the water on and it was just fantastic to be
part of that team and to witness that achievement.
And uh... you can see here this is one of the first people
to collect water from
near the waterpoint.
That isn't to say that it's all over with now, there's a huge amount still to do.
But it was Oxfam down to the wire but it was oxfam at its best and
I'm very proud of my colleagues