Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

4 February 2010

Cameroon: Water Shortage - Dry Taps Persist in Yaounde

For some months now inhabitants of the capital city struggle to acquire the vital liquid.

In the Rue-Damas and Nsimeyong neighbourhoods in Yaounde, the population dance to the rhythm of water rationing. Each day, before a majority of the inhabitants wake up in the morning, taps have already stopped flowing and water returns only at about 9:00 p.m. This is when the situation is good. At times water may start flowing again only after midnight as it is the case now. The population therefore must wake-up late at night or before 4:00 a.m. to fill containers with water. "But the quantity of water stored is hardly enough for a day in a big family", Ivana B complains.

Whatever the case, inhabitants of Nsimeyong and Rue Damas neighbourhoods are lucky to realise that their taps flow at certain hours during the day. The situation in other neighbourhoods is deplorable as some people have gone for weeks and even months without potable water flowing from their taps. As a result, an interminable row of buckets is usually seen near certain taps in town. "This is only one of the daily manners in which citizens express their difficulties having water", Beatrice O, an inhabitant of the Obili neighbourhood in Yaounde recounts. In a desperate need for water, Beatrice says she and her neighbours, each day make a line in front of a tap where water runs in drops.

In the Nkolbisson neighbourhood, the water situation is more difficult. It is almost one year that there is no water in the area. The inhabitants depend on wells for water to carry out thier daily chores. People in Nkolbission say they are forced to incur extra expenditure to buy drinking water. The problem is more serious because there are people in Nkolbisson who have paid and deposited documents for potable water connection two years ago but there are no results. In offices, toilets and some corridors are "no go" areas because of the stench that comes out due to lack of water. In trying to put themselves at ease, certain workers take refuge in neighbouring hotels around their offices where special water provision has been made. Even posh "residential" quarters in Yaounde such as Bastos, Odza, Messamendongo also have water problems. Many people wonder for how long water taps will remain empty in Yaounde.

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