Drinking water in Ituri : my plea for the future

Drinking water in Ituri

Girl and drinking water (UNICEF DRC 2010 Connelly)

YOUNG REPORTERWater is indispensable to every human being. This is particularly true for children, who need a lot of drinking water in order to grow without health problems. Although the DRC is blessed with abundant water resources, Congolese children continue to suffer, and even die as a result of the lack of access to drinking water. This cannot be tolerated.

What is the state of drinking water in Ituri ?

In the village of Bunia, which is the capital of Ituri province, the situation is not different from that of the rest of the country. REGIDESO, which is almost the only distributor of drinking water in the town, is facing enormous challenges to provide drinking water to the people. Safina, a young girl of 13, is confident of a better future and she explains in this article the various obstacles that the children are facing to have drinking water.

REGIDESO hardly supplies water twice in a week; at times it is just one or zero time. There are days when we wake up in the middle of the night to fetch drinking water, so as to be the first to be served. The night is meant for sleeping, but we use it to fetch water; it is not easy at all”, said the stunned Safina.

The many consequences of the lack of water

The drinking water supplied only caters for a small portion of the town, and the quantity is very insignificant considering that the population keeps growing every day, thereby increasing the need for water. This has many consequences: “When we do not have water, my education is indirectly affected. There are times when I do not go to school because there is no bathing water. We cannot go to school dirty!”, she exclaimed. This situation is not only limited to Bunia.

The lack of drinking water leaves the people with no choice than to resort to the dirty water from the rivers. “Knowing very well that river water is not healthy for consumption, many children like myself use this water to cook, wash dishes and bathe, due to the financial situation of our parents”, she said. This is the only water that is available for free.

Every family needs many litres of water per day to cater for its daily needs, and a 20-litre container costs between FC100 and FC300 in and around the town. This is a real problem of every day.

Drinking water today will guarantee a better tomorrow

An urgent response from the government is needed to avoid the worst, urged the young Safina. “Our wish is to see all the neighborhoods of the town and all the corners of the province have enough supply of free drinking water. We have a right to live well, and water contributes a great deal to our lives”.

Through local initiatives, NGOs and specialized agencies are working to alleviate the problem by constructing boreholes. As for REGIDESO, the officials contacted said that the water shortage is because water quantity reduces in the dry season, in addition to the fact that the population is growing. The aging infrastructure also makes it difficult to provide quality services to the people.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Child Protection Act, provide for a children’s rights to survive and develop in an acceptable manner. Like many Congolese children, Safina wants and dreams of unconditional access to drinking water for every child in the DRC.

For tomorrow to be better, it is necessary to invest in today. And for us, tomorrow belongs to the children. The Congolese government and its partners need to give enough attention to the issue of drinking water for the wellbeing of Congolese children and the entire Congolese population.

Let us not forget that water is life!

More info about drinking water in DRC

Translated from French by Felix Awung

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