BEIRUT: The water supply to the country’s biggest prison has increased by almost 50 percent after a project implemented by the International Committee of the Red Cross was handed over to authorities Monday.
Roumieh prison was originally built for 1,500 detainees but now holds around 3,000. The water project, which has been implemented gradually over the last two years, links the prison’s water system to a new well.
Monday’s handover took place at the Internal Security Forces headquarters, and the protocol was signed by both the director general of General Security, Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi and the head of the ICRC delegation in Lebanon, Jurg Montani.
Montani said that “it is a practical example of how the cooperation between detention authorities and the ICRC can directly lead to an improvement in the conditions of detention.”
Roumieh prison, north-east of Beirut, has been the scene of several riots over recent years. In April 2011, prisoners and detainees’ relatives protested at the levels of overcrowding and conditions within the prison. Four inmates died in the riots, with several more injured.
The ICRC has already completed a comprehensive survey about health care in Lebanese prisons, and has since been working with authorities to improve detainees’ access to health care and the general quality of care available.
It has also provided medical supplies and equipment, carrying out first-aid training for staff in Roumieh’s medical center.