Dutch water experts to help in Kenya and Macedonia

Two Dutch experts are being deployed to help with the water shortage in Kenya and flooding in Macedonia. Once again, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment are sending experts in these fields abroad, to share Dutch knowledge and practical expertise with local authorities and aid organisations.

The UN refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, urgently needs to increase its water supply. In the last two months an additional 50,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived, bringing the number of people living there to 180,000. The camp is now threatened with an acute water shortage. Water expert Harry Rolf will be looking for new water sources in the location where the camp is to be expanded. He will develop a plan to supply the area with water through pipelines. Boreholes will be drilled and infrastructure built at a later stage.

Foreign trade and development cooperation minister Lilianne Ploumen said, ‘Our expertise and practical experience in the field of water are among the best in the world. Wherever possible, we help to reduce the emergency, improve living conditions and boost safety. Our water knowledge helps other countries become more resilient and in this case, will provide thousands of refugees with drinking water.’

In Macedonia, the city of Tetovo is contending with flooding and landslides as the result of heavy rainfall. Five people have died and scores of others have been injured. Houses and infrastructure have been damaged in Tetovo and nearby mountain villages. As team leader of an EU mission, Dutch crisis management expert Ruud de Krom will be helping the Macedonian authorities in the coming weeks to map the extent of the damage to the environment and to infrastructure such as dams, bridges and water systems. Recommendations will also be made on how to repair the damage and prevent a similar disaster happening in the future.

Dutch experts are regularly sent abroad to provide assistance to disaster victims. The Dutch Risk Reduction (DRR) team is deployed before and after disasters to help prevent future catastrophes. In the past 18 months, they have been deployed 10 times, notably after the typhoons in the Philippines and Vanuatu. Dutch Surge Support (DSS) is deployed during disasters to deliver assistance as fast as possible. This facility has been in operation since the beginning of 2015 and has helped during flooding in Albania and drought in Rwanda. The expert being sent to Kenya is part of the DSS programme.