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Nyiragongo: Access to water, the great challenge of the response against covid19

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The North Kivu province, like many corners of the world, is going through the Covid 19 health crisis. Among the prevention measures to fight against this pandemic, regular hand washing and avoidance of crowds are more or less compulsory. A luxury that the inhabitants of Buhene, in Nyiragongo territory north of the city of Goma, cannot afford. Reason ? Lack of water !

By David Kasi

After a rain at night, the next day the flurry at the unique water point of Buhene is not today of the same dimension as usual. Next to the small market where the locals get their supplies, only a line of about 15 cans is visible. Several young children are there, lining up to get drinking water. Out of four taps of the fountain only one spouts water …
I get up no later than 6:00 am each time hoping to find water” says Rachel Kahindo, 10, while a youngster helps her lift her 20-liter canister to her back. Today, says Rachel, there are few people on this fountain. “I just spent 45 minutes to fill my container.” This is due to the rain estimates Gadi Baraka who is OBF (operator of the water pipe). The 22-year-old controls on this fountain all morning before being replaced. Usually, he meets people very early in the morning before he brings the keys to the taps.
This youngster, who makes around 100,000 FC per day during the dry period and 30,000 to 50,000 FC in the rainy season, is not assigned with the task of raising awareness against the Covid 19 despite the presence on his terminal of a poster showing the prevention measures to observe. “It’s my bosses who have come to put up awareness posters” informs this young man who sees in this poster only photos. No measure is respected, nobody wears a mask, no distances between two persons, in addition people touch each other, push each other. Circumstances favorable to contamination.
It has already been over a year that the entire population of this entity has been drinking water from a single standpipe. “I have been taking care of the water in my family for a year, since my mother has been pregnant for a long time, she is unable to help me,” says Rachel Kahindo, the oldest child in her family. She thinks it’s better to save this water which she carries with the sweat on her forehead “for more useful purposes than to wash the hands each time” she estimates, completely innocent.
The water I bring we use it to drink and prepare food,” she said. A primary school student, Rachel must take care of her two little brothers. She buys a can of 100 FC at the water point and sometimes one of 150 FC or 200 FC further away from her home from tanks when the water does not run from the fountain.

Located in the Munigi grouping, Bukumu chiefdom, Ngagi 1 village, Buhene is one of the liveliest areas near Goma.

This locality, which has not found any alternatives of protection against the Covid 19, is asking for more awareness in order to put in place the protection measures decreed by the Head of State. To have more sources of water in this area is an emergency!
Do you have easy access to water in your locality during this covid19 period? Please respond in the comments and share with your loved ones!

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