Water to stay healthy

Installation of standpipes to fight COVID-19 allows families to protect themselves against waterborne diseases.

Une jeune fille se lave les mains.
20 June 2022

“I was drinking water from the river and I had strong stomach aches”, explains Sarah while diligently washing her hands. The young girl aged 12 years old suffered very regularly from severe stomach aches that forced her to lie down for entire days. 

Sarah lives with her grandmother and her younger brother in a displaced persons camp in Bunia, in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Like the rest of the 13,000 camp inhabitants, Sarah used to fetch water from the nearby river – water that causes several diarrheal diseases with devastating consequences. 

The coronavirus pandemic underlined the urgent need to provide everyone with sustainable access to water. Washing one’s hands is actually one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. 

Thanks to the support of the German government, UNICEF has constructed two boreholes that supply 24 taps in the heart of Bunia’s central market to contain the spread of coronavirus. 

Sarah, who regularly went to the market, was happy to be able to wash her hands and have access to drinking water. “It’s fresh and clean water”, explains the young girl who regularly gathers provisions to bring back to camp and use as drinking or cooking water. 

Installed in July of 2020 to combat the coronavirus epidemic, the taps are mainly used by inhabitants of the neighboring camp. Like Sarah, many other deplaced children are used to walking the aisles of the market and now have access to drinking water. “I have not had any stomach aches since I began drinking this water”, concludes Sarah.