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Democratic Republic of the Congo: Providing safe water

18-07-2002 News Release 02/29

The ICRC and the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have stepped up efforts to contain a recent outbreak of cholera in the city of Kalemie in Katanga province.

So far about 100 people are reported to have contracted the disease. The outbreak occurred when a failure of the water-supply system forced the city's estimated 120,000 inhabitants to collect drinking water from nearby lake Tanganyika and local rivers. Kalemie is considered a high-risk area for cholera outbreaks.

With the material and financial support of the ICRC, the local Red Cross has set up 22 points, manned by over 60 volunteers, where people can bring their water to have it disinfected. The ICRC has also provided four tanks in which to store safe water. Meanwhile, other humanitarian organizations have opened a cholera treatment centre at a local hospital.

Despite the crisis, the ICRC has been able to pursue its regular activities in Kalemie. These include financial and technical help for the local water board and efforts to restore and maintain family links by means of Red Cross messages. The ICRC also provides basic drugs and technical support for a local hospital.