Bosnia Appeal: Letting flow

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WITH temperatures down to 15 and even 20 degrees below freezing in the Tuzla area of Bosnia, Scottish European Aid (SEA) has been forced to slow down its water engineering programme, writes Joanna Gibbon.

The SEA's water programme involves 24 different locations within the Tuzla region, which now has a population of about 1 million people, swollen to almost twice its original size by refugees. Because of the increased demand, war damage to the pipelines and some supplies being cut off by warring factions, the water supply infrastructure in the area has been badly strained.

The SEA, which has been working in the area since May, has brought up 10 kilometres of high- pressure pipe from the Croatian border. So far a third has been laid and is operational, so over half the towns are now receiving water; the rest is either on site or in storage.

As well as laying pipes, SEA has been repairing old generators and pipes, finding new water sources where old ones have been cut off, providing spare parts and new pumps, and filtration and chlorination for village wells that have become contaminated.

The SEA's secondary role in the Tuzla region is to rehabilitate or complete half-built dwellings. It has brought in a machine which makes roof tiles from concrete, which is cheap and quick.

The major worry for SEA is that all its UNHCR grant money will run out by the end of this month. It has applied to various agencies, including the ODA, for at least pounds 800,000, but if nothing is forthcoming then it will have to down tools and lay off staff.

The Independent Bosnia Appeal has so far raised pounds 202,910.31. The money has been sent in by readers to help 15 charitable organisations that are operating in the region. For every donation to one or more, the Independent will add 10 per cent, up to pounds 30,000.

If you would like to support one or more of the charities, please send a separate cheque for each donation, made payable to the organisation - with the wording as below - and send to: Bosnia Appeal, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

1 War Child; 2 Victims of War Appeal (former Yugoslavia) - this for the Red Cross; 3 Care; 4 Cafod (Bosnia); 5 Christian Aid (Bosnia); 6 Edinburgh Direct Aid; 7 Feed the Children; 8 Help the Aged Former Yugoslavia Appeal; 9 Islamic Relief Bosnia Fund; 10 Marie Stopes International (Bosnia); 11 Oxfam; 12 The Refugee Council; 13 Save the Children Fund; 14 Scottish European Aid; 15 UNA Trust Bosnia.