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Covid-19 has exacerbated severe water scarcity in rural communties

Sep 16, 2021

By Hajira Khota- Durban

The Covid-19 outbreak has exposed disparities in South African rural areas, as more people are looking to prevent themselves against infection due to inadequate hygiene resources and water.

According to a new study performed by World Vision South Africa in three provinces, more than 800 South African children under the age of five die every day from diarrhoea caused by contaminated drinking water, lack of sanitation, and poor hygiene habits, according to a new study performed by World Vision South Africa in three provinces (KZN, Free State, and Limpopo).

Disadvantaged communities in KwaZulu-Natal and other provinces are the focus of the research.

“The urgency of safeguarding everyone’s right to safe drinking water has only been emphasised by the pandemic,” said Bruce Layzell, National Director of World Vision South Africa”.

Layzell says that in rural areas, poor water infrastructure causes frequent water cuts and shortages, causing school closures and disrupting children’s education.

Numerous children in low-income communities cannot attend class due to debilitating diarrhoeal disease or young ladies in rural areas who spend vast parts of each day getting water for their families.

EU Project Facilitator, World vision Unathi Nikani spoke to Radio Islam International, saying, “in various schools, learners do not have access to water in certain communities”.

According to the study, people in rural communities may not wash their hands as frequently as city dwellers due to a lack of access to safe water supplies.

Nikani says that to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and increase access to clean water supply, they were calling on local stakeholders to address this issue.

Children in the Sgedlane area are struggling to get uncontaminated water. Non-profit organisation Letcee has launched a campaign to raise funds for solar water pumps. The pumps will assist in transporting water from a borehole to early childhood development centres.

uMzinyathi District Municipality said water tankers were being dispatched weekly in Umvoti to supply water to affected areas.

Before Covid-19, parents, and children struggled with health conditions such as worm infestations, scabies, and diarrhoea due to a lack of access to clean, poor sanitation.

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