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Goma: Important progress to get access to safe water

22-01-2002 News Release

Goma (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the local water company, Regideso, today made important progress towards improving access to safe water in Goma. After conducting laboratory tests on the water of Lake Kivu, which showed that it is safe for human consumption, the two organizations restarted the town's main pumping station. The ICRC is also providing chlorine to treat the lake water. As a result, three pumping stations are now operating in Goma. However, the ICRC and Regideso estimate that only about 30 per cent of the water distribution network is working, and they will now focus on repairing the pipes.

As an interim measure, the ICRC has set up four water distribution points in Goma (bladder tanks) and is supplying them with water using two tanker trucks with a total capacity of 38,000 litres. The ICRC and a local NGO, Amis Kivu, have also expanded their network of sites along the lake shore where they are distributing jerrycans containing purified water.

Meanwhile, the ICRC has carried out an assessment of eight health centres in Goma which are still in operation. To remedy the shortage of materials in these facilities, the ICRC is sending two trucks with essential medical supplies to Goma from Kigali.

In Bukavu, the ICRC and the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are taking care of many of the estimated 11,000 people displaced from Goma. The Red Cross is providing water, sanitation facilities and items such as soap and plastic sheeting for the displaced at three sites.

The ICRC and the Congo Red Cross are also working to reunite family members separated following th e disaster. The local Red Cross has already located more than 100 unaccompanied children in the Goma area, and earlier today the first six children were reunited with their parents at the National Society's provincial headquarters in Goma.