Kinshasa/Goma (ICRC) – People in Saké, 27 kilometres north of Goma in the Masisi territory of North Kivu province, are witnessing the successful completion of a two-year effort by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to improve their access to water, which had been a serious problem for over 10 years.
The region’s chronic instability and the various conflicts it has seen have weakened Saké’s water facilities and water supply system. The ICRC began work on a gravity-fed water-supply system in September 2007 to bring water from the town of Mushake.
“The inhabitants of Saké have been affected both by poor security conditions and conflicts, which have damaged water systems,” said Jean-Marc Berge, an ICRC water and sanitation engineer. “Add to that the high concentrations of fluoride in what little water they did manage to obtain, and the proximity of the Nyiragongo volcano from which plumes of smoke regularly deposit particulate matter in water sources, and you’ll have an idea of the difficulties they have had to face.”
The project took on added importance with the renewal of the conflict in North Kivu at the end of 2008. Not only did the inhabitants of Saké suffer from the paucity of water available and its deplorable quality, but they also had to share this precious resource with the numerous displaced people who arrived in the city, from Mushake in particular, in October 2008.
The local population and those displaced in Saké – some 43,000 people altogether – will benefit from the repair work carried out on four springs, two tanks and 13 tapstands, and from the construction of 23 new tapstands and an 8.3-kilometre distribution system.
The ICRC is handing over this expanded and renovated supply system today, after two years of work, not only to the Saké authorities but above all to the thousands of men, women and children for whom finding drinkable water had become a daily challenge.
For further information, please contact:
Inah Kaloga, ICRC Kinshasa, tel: +243 81 700 85 36
Kerstan Cohen, ICRC Goma, tel: +243 81 03 66 812