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Life saving - drinking water

Cholera has been endemic in Baraka over the last years. Lake Tanganyika may act as a reservoir for the virus. Years of war and absence of government had destroyed the water system and returning refugees had dangerously overcrowded Baraka. From here the bacteria spread along the roads up the coast and in land causing smaller epidemics in Lulimba, Kilembwe and elsewhere.

Late last year UNICEF and with a local NGO CHR and the local water authority started the construction of a 30km piped water system bringing water down from the hills with water fountains across the town. It provides more than 30,000 people with drinking water. Cholera has all but disappeared. MSF is closing down their Cholera Treatment Centre due to lack of patients. Cholera has significantly reduced throughout the territory of Fizi. It has the additional benefit of reducing the distances women and child have to carry 20kg jerricans of water.

Olivier Thonet our water and sanitation was the main driving force behind the project. Olivier and I had come to do the inauguration of the project. Olivier is obsessed by the fight against cholera. For the five days we were together irrespective of the time of day or night he was questioning and discussing how we can eliminate Cholera in the east of DRC.

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Taken on June 16, 2007