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Democratic Republic of the Congo: better access to safe water for 35,000 people

03-05-2010 News Release 10/70

Kinshasa/Goma (ICRC) – Some 35,000 people living in or near Kitshanga, in the North Kivu province of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, now have better access to safe drinking water thanks to work carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

To enhance living conditions for Kitshanga inhabitants, long deprived of potable water, the ICRC began to upgrade the water supply system in May 2008. Improvements included three reservoirs with a total capacity of 240 cubic metres, 42 tap stands, three spring catchments and six kilometres of water pipeline. The ICRC handed over the refurbished water supply system to the authorities today.

" This system now belongs to the community, " declared Antoine Grand, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in North Kivu. " We invite all those concerned, including the water board and the local authorities, to attend to its maintenance for the sake of everyone's well-being. "

Because of a succession of conflicts in the region since 1993, Kitshanga has been permanently unstable. The network that had supplied water there for some 20 years had not been properly maintained in a long time. Originally designed to serve 18,000 people, it could no longer meet the needs of a population that had doubled as it took in large numbers of displaced people over the years.

The new water system will simplify daily household chores for the local community while reducing the risk of illness stemming from the use of water that is unsafe to drink.

  For further information, please contact:
  Pedram Yazdi, ICRC Goma, tel: +243 81 700 77 86
  Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 58 or +41 79 217 32 24