Sanitation helps community resilience

At the water taps in Bushagara displaced persons camp. Photo: UNICEF/John James.

DRC | 2023 | CERF

DR Congo, Goma. At the entrance to Bushagara displaced persons camp, on the outskirts of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a water truck pumps out its precious cargo into a large reservoir that stores water for 4,000 households.

Nearby, Frediana Ziraje, who fled the conflict with her family to live here, waits in line.

“We need water to prepare food, so when there’s a shortage, the family can’t eat,’’ she says. “Things are good at the site – people are living in harmony. But we are just waiting for the war to finish so we can go home.”

The camp is about to receive an upgrade to the water infrastructure, which was due to be completed in September 2023. Instead of the current water trucking to the site – costing $43,000 every month – the camp will be connected to the municipal water grid; no mean feat in a bone-dry area of the city covered in volcanic rock, without any nearby connection to the mains supply.

The camp reservoirs will be supplied directly from the local water distribution network, thanks to UNICEF support. The water will flow to households as well as the 10 water stations, 240 latrines and 120 showers built with CERF funding, in partnership with UNICEF and the Congolese organization YME Grands Lacs.

With eastern DRC at the center of the country’s worst cholera outbreak since 2017, accessing clean water, sanitation and hygiene has become more important than ever. Already more than 8,000 children have been infected in North Kivu during the first seven months of this year, over six times as many cases as in all of 2022.

Access to safe water and sanitation is critical for the lives of the 1.5 million displaced people across the country, and to prevent future disease outbreaks.

Original story: adapted from original article by UNICEF

More information on the CERF allocation to DRC.