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Facilitate immediate access to water in low-income communities

The World Health Organization (WHO) is advising the public continually to practice frequent handwashing to control the spread of the coronavirus. The people in the slums and peri-urban areas of Africa are getting water through a shared or communal water supply system. However, these water supply facilities are operating during the day time and for limited hours, and run out of water for most of the time in the cities where there is a shortage of water supply.

Therefore, no water means no handwashing and hence no control of the spread of the virus. Also, in many areas, quite a high number of people are served per shared or communal water tap resulting in high congestion and long waiting time (please see the picture) to fetch water. Under such situations, social distancing is impossible and hence controlling the spread of the virus is unthinkable.

Accordingly, The SDGC/A is proposing an immediate action to be taken by the national governments and the utilities/service providers to make a rapid assessment and improve the water supply services in the peri-urban and slum settlements so that controlling of the spread of coronavirus can be achieved. Such measures, among others, should be to:

  1. avail water though water delivery trucks and distribute to the beneficiaries;
  2. install temporary water collection points in the various locations to avoid long queues and overcrowdings;
  3. provide the water supply free of charge as most of the people living in the slums and peri-urban settlements are in the low-income bracket with almost no ability to pay for the services; and
  4. cover the installation and operation costs by the national governments or donors as in many cases the utilities have cash flow problems.

 

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