Limpopo villagers terrified about lack of water during virus threat_1

Residents in rural villages fear the coronavirus pandemic will exact a heavy toll because of acute water shortages.

Experts recommend constant washing of hands with water and soap to help stop its spread.

According to Erna Kruger of Mahlathini Foundation in Hoedspruit, Limpopo and Pietermaritzburg, which specialises in programmes designed to stop the spread of the virus, chances are huge for the virus to easily spread in rural communities faced with shortages of clean water.

She pleaded with government to provide more resources to rural areas in order to help curb the spread of the virus.

Limpopo, which is 80% rural, is dependent on boreholes and rain water for day-to-day needs. The rain water may not last long as the province is gripped by a drought that has seen people competing for dirty water with wild animals at water holes.

The province is currently depending on R8 million from the United Nations, which President Cyril Ramaphosa has earmarked for communicating the message against the spread of the virus.

Jospinah Motsai, a mother of five in Mokwakwaila, near Modjadjiskloof, said: “We are swimming in a pool of frustration because we know we don’t have clean running water.

“Most government programmes to address the situation have failed dismally. They were either left incomplete … or have no water because there has been no rain for years.”

Yesterday, Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha’s spokesperson, Kenny Mathivha, said: “[Although] Limpopo is experiencing water challenges, people still manage to survive.

“What is key is that we must use the little we have to stop the spread [of coronavirus].”

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