Conflict in South Sudan has displaced millions, left parts of the country in famine and exacerbated a water crisis.
A worsening water crisis, fuelled in part by conflict and a deteriorating economy, is just one more challenge families in Juba face daily. In 2015, an estimated 13 percent of residents had access to municipal water, supplied mainly through a small piped network and boreholes — but this number is likely to have dropped following the violence that hit the city in 2016.
For those without municipal access, water is mostly provided through private sector water trucking. Because they draw untreated water straight from the White Nile river, UNICEF has been providing the trucks with chlorine to treat the water and reduce the spread of waterborne diseases.
Francis, 13, works at the water pumps every morning before school. He fills bottles with chlorine for the water trucks. The money he earns helps to buy food and school supplies. There are more than 2,000 water tankers in Juba, and as running costs rise, so does the price for customers.
Francis throws a bottle of chlorine solution to a truck. A lack of safe water increases the risk of deadly waterborne diseases spreading, with children especially vulnerable, compounding the nutrition crisis. A cholera outbreak has already killed 83 people and infected thousands.
In Khor William, one of the areas worst affected by the cholera outbreak, Amal, 17, carries a jerry can to a water pump installed by a private company. Although conveniently located near her home, the pump is connected directly to the river and the water is untreated.
“I don’t have to walk to the river any more, which means I have more time to study, but the water is still dirty, and I worry about my younger siblings getting sick when they drink it” says Amal, who fetches water every day.
In Ghabat, Louis Modi stands by water containers at a UNICEF-supported water treatment centre he runs. Water drawn from the river is treated with Aluminium Sulphate and Chlorine, helping the centre pump out more than 280,000 litres of clean water a day.
People come from up to 25 kilometers away to collect water from the taps at the treatment centre, with women and children filling the ubiquitous yellow jerry cans, often loading them onto wheelbarrows for the long journey home.
The water is free for those who can make the journey to the centre, but for those further afield, bicycle vendors deliver jerry cans of clean water for a small fee, providing the riders with a livelihood opportunity and bringing safe water to a wider community.
UNICEF is hoping to roll out further treatment centres to provide more families with access to clean, safe water. For thousands of people, clean safe water is still out of their reach. Mutakel, 16, left, and Joseph, 12, collect water from a damaged water pipe on the outskirts of Juba.
A child carries empty jerry cans to fill them at a nearby tap providing untreated water from the White Nile. No family should have to risk their children’s lives just for something to drink.
With thanks to our generous donors, including DfID, the Government of Japan, OFDA, USAID and the German Government.