Mugoboka: Lack of clean water threatens residents

Two people died in Mugoboka neighborhood, Rohero urban zone, in the center of the Burundian capital. Residents suspect cholera outbreak. They evoke the lack of drinking water as they consume water fetched from the Ntahangwa River.

Mugoboka residents washing clothes in the Ntahangwa River

Mugoboka residents washing clothes in the Ntahangwa River

Both Generose Nkeshimana and Claude Bucumi, died on Thursday 28 September, 2016. They suffered from excessive vomiting and acute diarrhea before succumbing. Mugoboka residents suspect cholera epidemic and say the lack of water in the area would be the root cause of the deaths.

More than 9000 people from Mugoboka I and II fetch water from a single tap. Wealthy people from that locality buy water in the nearby neighborhoods of North Mutanga and South Mutanga for a sum of BIF 600 per a 20 liter can. Many people use water carried from the Ntahangwa River.

J.M a Mugoboka resident says he often washes his clothes in the river. “I have no other choice. “All Mugoboka residents cannot queue up at one tap and expect to get water,” explains that student at the University of Burundi.

J.M even says water from the Ntahangwa is sometimes used to wash kitchen utensils. “It is very dirty and the risk of getting sick is big, “he says.

Mathias Ngeziminwe who is in charge of this public tap indicates that the problem is more serious: “From 2 to 9 September, 2016, we had no water”, he says. For him, the shortage of clean water is a threat to the lives of Mugoboka residents.

Fulgence Ntahiraja, the chief of Rohero Zone denies that these people died of cholera. “We have carried out investigations in collaboration with the head of health district, but found no signs that they were suffering from cholera,”he says. However, he admits that Mugoboka residents are currently facing a serious problem of lacking drinking water. He reported that the local government is trying to build a new public tap in Mugoboka II.