Bloemhof residents queue for water

By admin
30 May 2014

Residents of the Boitumelong township in Bloemhof, North West, have been without water for a week.

Residents of the Boitumelong township in Bloemhof, North West, queued on Thursday for contaminated water from what appeared to be the only working tap in the area. They said they needed it even though it was impure, explaining that they had been without water for a week.
"We are suffering from diarrhoea. It's painful, my child is sick and weak."

A health official earlier confirmed Bloemhof's water source had been contaminated. One child had already died after contracting severe diarrhoea.

About 30 people were in line, some with buckets and 25 litre containers, and others with wheelbarrows. Some of those that left carried the water containers on their heads.

"Our toilets are stinking. They are full because we don't have water," resident Meisie Kgomo told Sapa.

"Our kids have been returned from school. [We] can't bath, can't cook, we need clean water as soon as possible."

People said they would boil the water and use it.

"We haven't had water since last Friday. The water that was coming out (from house taps) was stinking, black in colour with some algae," said resident Martha Bokaba.

"We are suffering from diarrhoea. It's painful, my child is sick and weak."

Another local, Jonas Sekati, said residents were using the bush to relieve themselves as they had no other option.

"Our toilets are full of shit. We don't have anywhere to shit. We have to shit in the nearby bushes."

North West health department spokesman Tebogo Lekgethwane said Bloemhof's water source had been contaminated.

"The municipality also stopped water distribution to the community as it was clear the water was the source of contamination and that the water circulating was not safe," he said.

He said water tankers had been sent to the area. Schools had been closed since Monday.

Resident Kgomotso Moalusi said some people were not getting water from the tanks.

"The water tanks are selective. They give water to their own people. They started giving water to people late last night in five litre containers."

Residents said the baby that died was buried earlier on Thursday.

Over 200 other people reported to local clinics with diarrhoea between Saturday and Tuesday.

By 5pm on Wednesday, another 30 people had sought medical help.

"Today [Thursday] the situation has stabilised. There are no huge numbers of people coming in," said Lekgethwane.

He dismissed claims of a cholera outbreak, saying it had not yet been confirmed.

"Cholera can only be declared when there have been laboratory tests done. We have not declared it cholera. We took samples from the water to go test them. We have not received the results from the laboratory."

Attempts to get comment from the Lekwa-Teemane municipality were unsuccessful as its manager, Andrew Makwapane, was in a meeting.

- SAPA

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