Cholera and violence sweep across Katanga Province

As the sun rises over Tanganyika Lake on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), hundreds of women arrive to collect fresh water for their families. They fill their containers and begin the long walk back to their villages.

This is how cholera spreads in Katanga Province. The waterborne illness is endemic here. More than 11,000 cases have been reported since the beginning of the year, and an outbreak a few months ago claimed 257 lives. In the past four weeks, more than 300 cases have been recorded.

Humanitarian organizations are focusing on water treatment and hygiene-information campaigns to stem its spread. A US$720,000, two-year project in the city of Kalemie, on the shores of Tanganyika Lake, is providing more than 80,000 people with safe drinking water. The project addresses all factors that contribute to the spread of the disease: access to clean water through chlorination points, sanitation and hygiene awareness.

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