Water for displaced families in Rutshuru
UNICEF provides vital assistance to displaced children and their families, particularly clean water and essential hygiene supplies.
RUTSHURU, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO – While the Remera primary school shut its doors for school holidays, an unusual bustle comes alive in the classrooms. In the outdoor courtyard, women have gathered around a faucet to fill their large yellow canisters with clean water.
Alice, 32 years old, fled when fighting broke out in Bugina, a village located several hours’ walk away. More than 190,000 people were forced to leave their homes following the clashes in the North-Kivu province. Families lack food, water, adequate shelter, health care, and sanitation services.
« Life is very difficult here », confides Mani Zabayo while washing dishes with water collected a few minutes earlier from the faucet. « When I arrived, I had no water even when it is difficult to live without water », remembers Mani who has been enrolled at the Remera primary school for 3 weeks.
At Remera primary school UNICEF quickly established access points to water to allow children and their families to have sustainable access to clean water. Since March of 2022, UNICEF has also constructed 272 toilets and 132 emergency showers in places hosting displaced families.
Without access to clean water and sanitation services, children and families are exposed to a higher risk of waterborne diseases, notably cholera. UNICEF has distributed prevention kits to 3,500 displaced families through support from USAID’s Bureau for humanitarian assistance (BHA), the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UNCERF), and the Governments of Japan, Germany and Sweden. UNICEF also educated more than 40,000 people on good hygiene practices.
Displaced families and host families have an urgent need for food, household items as well as assistance regarding health, water, hygiene, and sanitation. « I hope that peace will return and that I can go home to get my life back », says Mani while watching his fourteen-month-old daughter.