Since 2020, the rising waters of Lake Tanganyika in Burundi have worsened. The inhabitants of the littoral face the major problems. But those on Kanyenkoko Hill have a specific challenge: the lack of clean water. It is in Rumonge province (southwest of Burundi). This situation has major consequences on the health of the populations and remains worrying according to the blogger and Burundian journalist Pascal NDAYISENGA.
It is nine o’clock in Rumonge. A Sunday day. It is observed a movement back and forth in the streets of the city. “These people go to a Sunday prayer”, tells me Alexis, a motorcyclist who takes me to Kanyenkoko, from the urban center of the town of Rumonge.
The situation is quite the opposite on this hill. Women, men and children do not seem to follow suit. Some bring their objects out of their homes damaged by the rising waters. On the horizon, houses are on the ground, destroyed by the rising waters of Lake Tanganyika which keep getting worse. The district is in fact right on the coast of this lake.
According to the same inhabitants, these waters have started to rise since the year 2020. “We thought that the lake would recede a few meters during the dry season but we were disillusioned”, tells us a mother, holding her two children in her hands.
A worrying situation which thwarts efforts to achieve objective 3 of sustainable development and which justifies the urgency of action to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
According to Madame Odette, a local elected official, about three hundred houses were destroyed by the rising waters. The figures are confirmed by the red cross in this southern province of the country which indicates that the situation is closely monitored. An agent responsible for data collection at the Red Cross specifies that some households have already been relocated. Thirty-two of them are grouped together in a common room of a center called CEMINA (Rumonge Center).
Another part of the affected households are staying with friends, others have found refuge in houses under construction.
Those who still live in their households face a major difficulty: lack of drinking water .
They are forced to draw the same waters from Lake Tanganyika.
“It is this water that we use for cooking, washing clothes and for our toilets because we do not have drinking water”, explains Louise one of these inhabitants.
For Eric, a student at one of the secondary schools in Rumonge, “We have no other choice. We have to draw some, ”he explains, loading his bicycle with four cans.
Households who have seen their homes destroyed had toilets whose wastes flowed into the stagnant waters of the lake. These waters have a foul odor. People who pass there regularly to fetch water already have pimples on their legs and fungus between their ears. “Other diseases can attack us if nothing is done,” warns a local elected representative. There is an emergency.
The Rumonge Red Cross tried to spray these waters every week to kill germs. But the distribution of drinking water would be an effective protection against some diseases. They also need mosquito nets to protect themselves from the mosquitoes that thrive in these stagnant waters.
Until Thursday, April 22, 2021, six hundred and twenty households had been affected by the rise of these waters of Lake Tanganyika in Rumonge Province according to Consolateur Nitunga, governor of this province.
This situation constitutes an obstacle to local development because these inhabitants do not work.
Their health is also at risk as long as nothing is done. This town of Rumonge is attacked every year by cholera, a disease of the hands.
By Pascal NDAYISENGA