Cablegate: Zanzibar's Main Island: Power Crisis Unabated
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHDR #0038/01 0201405
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201405Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9226
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHMS/AMEMBASSY MUSCAT 0157
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 3070
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0043
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 1546
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 1512
RUEHDS/USMISSION USAU ADDIS ABABA
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 DAR ES SALAAM 000038
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E JTREADWELL; INR/RAA: FEHRENRIECH
STATE PASS TO USAID, USTDA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG ECON ETRD MCC PGOV EPET EIND TZ
SUBJECT: ZANZIBAR'S MAIN ISLAND: POWER CRISIS UNABATED
REFS: (A) 09 Dar es Salaam 871 (B) 08 Dar es Salaam 839 and
DAR ES SAL 00000038 001.2 OF 003
1. This is an action message. Please see para. 15.
2. SUMMARY: On January 15, representatives from the donor community
met at UNDP headquarters to hear the UN and the Norwegian Embassy's
assessments of Zanzibar's needs following the December 10
malfunction of the power cable terminus connecting the main Zanzibar
island of Unguja with Tanzania's national power grid. All of
Unguja's power stemmed from the now-defunct cable. Absent power
since December 10, water and sanitation needs are now becoming dire.
While efforts are being taken to repair the cable for the second
time in 18-months, indications are that it is at or near the end of
its functional life. A new 100 MW power cable, funded by the U.S.
Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), is in the process of being
procured but will not be fully operational until late 2012.
According to the UN's report, Zanzibar needs USD 1.4 million now to
prevent a serious humanitarian crisis. However, that money would
only cover costs until the end of February. The UN assessment team,
supported by the donor community, recommends the immediate purchase
of emergency generators to supply 26 MW of power at an estimated
cost USD 11.7 million. Including fuel and maintenance, it will cost
an additional estimated USD 63.4 million to operate these new
generators until the MCC funded cable is operational.
The preferred donor and Government of Zanzibar short to medium term
solution is to immediately purchase 26 MW of emergency generators.
However, if delivery is expedited there is an additional freight
charge of approximately $5 million. Possible USG assistance is
described below, with a caveat that these proposals have NOT been
coordinated with other potential donors. END SUMMARY.
3. STILL NO POWER IN ZANZIBAR AND CAN'T FIX THE CABLE
All - power to the main island of Zanzibar (Unguja), with a
population of about 800,000, has been off-line since December 10
when the transformer for the 40MW cable that supplies 100 percent of
power to Unguja's grid crashed for the second time in one-and-a-half
years. Workers have been trying to fix the transformer and the pump
that moves the cooling oil through the cable line (at an estimated
cost of USD 3.5 million). For more than a month now, the only power
has been from small scale individual generators.
4. From January 6-12, a UN team was on the ground in Zanzibar to
make a public health impact assessment and provide recommendations.
At the same time, the Norwegian Embassy funded consultants to
conduct a cost-benefit analysis of available power options until the
100 MW new power cable sponsored by the U.S.'s MCC comes online in
late 2012. On January 15, donors met at the UNDP headquarters to
hear the results of both studies, as well as to hear commentary from
senior representatives from the Zanzibar and Mainland governments.
5. UN ASSESSMENT: LOOMING HUMANTITARIAN DISASTER - According to the
UN's report, Zanzibar needs USD 1.4 million now to prevent a serious
humanitarian crisis. That money would only tide the island over
until the end of February if another longer-term solution was not
found. Korno Soro, the UN Resident Representative in Zanzibar, said
that the Zanzibar Government (SMZ) and UNDP, with limited donor
help, have been able to just barely stabilize the situation, but
resources were now exhausted. With the support of Danish aid
("DANIDA"), key medical and health facilities were operational as
well as limited, intermittent water to most of the population,
although services have been drastically cut back.
6. Water production before the crisis supplied about 71-76 liters
per person per day. Now it was at about half capacity (31-33
liters/day). For those without water, the street cost for a
12-liter plastic bucket of water delivered to the house was about
USD 50 cents to a dollar (just below the average daily income of
Zanzibar). The quality and safety of that water was suspect.
7. Soro said that hardest hit Urban West District, which includes
Zanzibar's capital Stonetown, had a population density of 1,700
people per km2, as high a rate as existed anywhere. Sanitation is
also a critical concern, and the threat of epidemical disease was
particularly high there. Most schools, island-wide, remained without
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adequate water or sanitation, and nine schools close to
cholera-affected areas have been closed temporarily. No specific
new cholera outbreaks have occurred since the power outage, but the
threat remained, he said.
8. Additionally, Soro said that, due to lack of electricity, the
island's only water quality lab was out of commission and the
chlorination unit was not running. Because of the onset of the
rainy season, drains were clogged up with no means to pump them,
impeding sanitation. Sanitation and maintenance of high-use public
areas, mainly done at night, was not being conducted. Immunization
schedules for newborns were being affected due to the lack of
refrigeration, which would likely have serious reverberations months
down the line.
9. It was costing the SMZ about USD 5,000/day to run 46 generators
to provide emergency power to critical infrastructure. He said
there was an urgent and crucial need of additional generators to
reactivate clean and safe water pumping points. Without immediate
financial support to ensure the running costs (fuel and
maintenance), more services were likely to be paralyzed. The SMZ
and UN have set up Acute Diarrhoea Centers (with the SMZ paying 80
percent of the cost), but they needed more supplies. Finally, Soro
said that in order to enhance the preparedness and anticipate an
eventual outbreak of cholera, there was urgent need to procure
necessary cholera outbreak management medical supplies.
10. In all, the UN said USD 1,382,255 was needed to face all
eventualities and cater for the day-to-day needs for the coming 6-8
weeks. This money would only cover public institutions and minimal
provision of water and sanitation. Consumer electricity still would
be unavailable from the Zanzibar distribution network.
11. SOCIO-ECONOMIC FALL-OUT: A Norwegian Aid Officer briefed that
half of Zanzibar's rice crop will likely be lost because of lack of
irrigation. The SMZ estimates it lost USD 7 million in tax revenues
for December, and 30 percent of its budget per month was going
toward the cost of the crisis. At a cost of about USD 5-6,000/day
for a hotel to run a generator, many small and medium hotels have
closed for the season (tourism is the number one source of revenue
for Zanzibar). Additionally, services like hairdressers and repair
shops also have closed due to lack of power and water. Fishing,
another island mainstay, has been hammered due to lack of
refrigeration. Steiner Grongstatdt of NORPLAN estimated the
"socio-economic" loss at USD 10 million/month.
12. MID-TERM SOLUTION: USD 11.7 MILLION FOR GENERATORS: Of the
various mid-term power options discussed by the NORAD assessment
team, there was an emerging consensus that the best quick-fix
solution would be the purchase of diesel generators capable of
supplying about 26 MW. The cost of the generators was estimated at
approximately USD 11.7 million, but the operational costs over three
years was estimated to be USD 68.34 million.
13. NEXT STEPS: While exact dollar amount have not been pledged,
the Nordics, British Aid (DFID), Japan (JICA) and the Agha Khan
Foundation are likely candidates to fund the short-term measures
described above. The Tanzania national government also is expected
to announce an aid package.
14. The Norwegian Embassy has taken the lead in working with the
Zanzibari Electricity Company (ZECO) to facilitate a medium term
solution. Their preferred approach is to accept the USD 11.7
proposal for 26 MW generators. However, additional donor support
beyond the Norwegians will likely be needed to cover these costs.
The Swedes (SIDA) and Japanese (JICA) are possible candidates for
contributing additional funds. How the not-insubstantial operating
costs would be provided for is another matter. In the two-and-fro
around the briefing table, it emerged that Zanzibar and Tanzania
Union Government budget officials were thinking that their
respective governments might proffer to "shoulder" the costs, only
to bill it back to those (mostly European countries) involved in
budget support assistance.
15. POSSIBLE AREAS FOR ASSISTANCE - Additional assistance
requirements: LIFT FOR THE GENERATORS: The UN's USD 1,382,255
Zanzibar needs-estimate would only carry Zanzibar over in its
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current minimum standard status until the end of February. There is
an emerging consensus by donors to take the USD 11.7 million
generator purchase option as a mid-term solution. The vendor
estimates a five-to-six-week sea freight delivery time to move the
supplies from Belgium to Zanzibar, at a cost of USD 200 thousand.
If, however, the 600-700 tons of equipment were to be moved via air,
the delivery should take two-to-three weeks, but cost USD 5 million.
16. SHORT-TERM PROVISION OF WATER PURIFICATION AND/OR DESALINATION
EQUIPMENT: Lack of potable water is a growing serious health risk on
Unguja. Equipment to purify contaminated water or to desalinate sea
water could ameliorate the problem.
17. PROVISION OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES: There is a great and growing need
for cholera preparedness and diarrheal disease treatment supplies.