“Water Scarcity in the Era of the Pandemic” – Goma, DRC

My friend Helen lives in the UK.  She was at the forefront of the #FridaysForFuture climate strikes with her ‘Save Congo Rainforest’ signs.  She is becoming an amazing blogger and journalist.  Read for yourself…

“The inhabitants of the city of Goma face daily hardship in accessing drinking water. This struggle has become a terrifying reality when the region was hit by not one, but two, deadly viral outbreaks.

“In 1998, the year I was born, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) became a theatre for what is often referred to as “Africa’s First World War”, a conflict fought over minerals, water, and food. By 2010, 5.4 million people had died, making it the most deadly conflict the planet had seen since the Second World War. However, most deaths were the result of malaria, malnutrition, or diarrhoea, and not directly as a result of violence. This is because the DRC saw a collapse of its infrastructure as a result of the conflict.

“The DRC is an area that is incredibly resource-rich, and the conflict itself was funded by the exploitation of natural resources, including, but not limited to, water, coltan, and timber. This, in turn, has opened a huge window of opportunity for multinational companies to take advantage of these natural resources by catching them in a complex, elite web of key political, military, and business personnel – all at the cost of Congolese citizens, especially children. Some examples of the results of this have been: mining operations to extract coltan used in mobile phones, often utilising child labour; and the deforestation of the Congo Rainforest – which has lost an area larger than Bangladesh in the last 14 years. The complex and sensitive political situation in the DRC (and arguably the lucrative conditions for foreign, developed countries who benefit from these conditions) has made it challenging to allocate international aid funding to ameliorate these circumstances.

“The State Water Utility is unable to improve its water pumping facilities due to a lack of funds, meaning that the only way for water to be distributed is through rusty, decaying pipes. In urban areas, only 69% people receive water from a state utility. In rural areas, this figure is much, much lower. The IRC state that the illnesses that have claimed the majority of Congolese lives as a result of the conflict are diseases and conditions caused by and exacerbated by a lack of clean water. This is a cruel irony, as the DRC was once one of the wettest regions in Africa, and yet today, people often must resort to collecting water from ponds or streams due to the dearth of state water pipes. This water is frequently tainted by chemicals, waste, and bacteria – but humans cannot survive without water, and so many have no choice but to drink it. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 88 out of every 1000 children in the DRC die before the age of 5…”

We provide this link to Helen’s Article, but do not try to make the whole article ours.  It does not belong to us. We only give you a flavour of it, so you can make up your own mind if you like and want to support Helen’s blogging, like we do. Of course, we do not or could support all the points made in any article we highlight, but that is part of living in a democracy.  We believe the material is relevant to all and is necessary for their personal judgments.

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