DRC: Water Shortage Frustrates Fight Against COVID-19

Residents of several districts of Goma, a city in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo are struggling to get pottable water to observe basic hygiene.

The situation, which has spanned several weeks, prevents them from following hygiene measures in the fight against COVID-19.

In Goma, everyone has their daily strategy to fetch some litres of drinking water and in spite of the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, residents have no choice than to brace to the challenge.

Many spend the whole night outside, queueing for water at the neighborhood’s sole functional borehole.

Rebecca Safi, a Goma resident, said she got to the borehole at 11 p.m. and till about 5a.m. and could not fetch a drop as the tap stopped running.

Residents of the northern capital, Kivu, are said to be used to the scarcity as there had not been water supply for many weeks.

This makes the regular washing of hands rather impossible in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, a resident said.

According to an official report, 60 per cent of Goma residents have no access to pottable water and many residents, in spite of possible insecurity, walk all the way to Kivu Lake to fetch water.

Meanwhile, the supply problem, according to a Congolese, is because of the poor state of infrastructure.

Jean Ruyance, Noth-Kivu Provincial Minister for Hydraulic Resources, said the government planned to resuscitate the dysfunctional water purification and distribution plant.

Unfortunately, executing its plan to restore supply requires 230 million dollars which the government cannot afford, the minister said.

The DRC has 4,778 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 600 recoveries and 107 deaths.

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