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Democratic Republic of the Congo: Electricity and safe water for Kisangani

31-07-2002 News Release 02/31

The ICRC recently completed major repair work at the Tshopo power station, the only source of electricity for the city of Kisangani in the north-eastern DRC and its estimated 600,000 inhabitants.

The power station also supplies the electricity needed to operate the city's only water treatment plant, which provides safe water for much of the population. The ICRC brought in 6,000 litres of diesel fuel to enable the water treatment plant to continue production during the repairs.

The project, with an estimated budget of 700,000 Swiss francs (some US$ 470,000) was undertaken as a preventive measure, to ensure that the only turbine still functioning at the Tshopo power station continued to operate normally.

In 2000, following repeated problems with the turbine, the local electricity company approached the ICRC for help. After a detailed technical assessment the ICRC begun transporting spare parts to Kisangani and hired specialists from the French company which had originally installed the turbine in 1973.

The Tshopo power station project constitutes a significant step forward in the ICRC's efforts to ensure that the inhabitants of Kisangani - an area where cholera outbreaks are frequent - continue to have access to safe drinking water despite the armed conflict in the DRC. Since 1997 the ICRC has been providing essential chemicals (60 tonnes between January and June 2002), spare parts and materials for the water treatment plant. It has also built 40 wells and water points in parts of Kisangani not connected to the city's water distribution network.

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ICRC completes major engineering project in Kisangani