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Democratic Republic of the Congo: Clean water for Kisangani

30-08-2001 News Release 01/34

On 15 August the ICRC inaugurated the Darma water treatment plant in Kisangani, in north-eastern DRC. The project, designed to supply districts of the city on the left bank of the Congo river with drinking water, was carried out in conjunction with Regideso, the national water authority, and funded by the ICRC. It is only one of a series of aid projects set up to produce and distribute safe water in Kisangani, which has a population of over 500,000.

Addressing those present at the inauguration, the ICRC engineer in charge, Nicola Capuzzo, stressed the close cooperation between Regideso and the ICRC. " The ICRC has been working on the springs that supply this plant since 1999 " , he explained. " At the outset, only 14 springs were still being tapped, the plant was closed and the inhabitants of the left bank had no access to safe water. "

The ICRC financed the renovation of buildings and the purchase of electromechanical equipment for the Darma plant. Since the beginning of this year it has also repaired the sand filters of the city's two main water-supply facilities, Tshopo I et II.

In addition the ICRC has flown in the chemicals needed to purify water for Kisangani, the DRC's third largest city, which is cut off from the rest of the country by the war and the absence of a road network. The ICRC-chartered aircraft is a link with the outside world, and the work of the ICRC engineers gives the population access to safe water despite the conflict.

Thanks to this type of aid, some two million people living in the opposition-controlled area of the DRC now have supplies of clean water. ICRC water and sanitation teams are currently working on similar projects in large urban centres such as Kalemie, Bukavu, Uvira et Goma.