Nauru camp running out of water, email reveals

September 12, 2014
Nauru detainees protest their detention.

Nauru detention camps’ water reserves are close to running dry, leaked emails showed on September 10.

A Transfield operations manager wrote in an email: “We are currently nearly out of water … Due to recent outages at the DIBP RO [immigration department reverse osmosis facility] we have not been able to build up stock so have been slowly going backwards.”

Tight water restrictions are in place in the camps. OPC3, a site for women, their children and unaccompanied minors, is restricted to laundry use only in case of emergency. OPC2, the site for men, is completely restricted from doing laundry.

Drinking water is provided by bottle. Of the frequent complaints by detainees about their conditions and lack of resources, lack of access to clean water is a top concern.

There is reportedly not a shortage of clean drinking water, but the lack of water for cleaning and other basic hygiene purposes is concerning.

The Guardian reported in April that “only half of all complaints and requests made by asylum seekers on Nauru – some as basic as requests for clean clothing and sanitation products – were resolved by detention centre staff”.

This included 35.23% of medical complaints remaining unresolved.

Lack of water and access to basic resources poses big problems for the quality of life and health of those on Nauru.

This comes only a week after the death of 24-year-old asylum seeker Hamid Khazaei on Manus Island, whose death was the result of lack of resources and poor conditions.

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