Bossangoa's water supply restored after 14 months

The Central African Republic's (CAR) water utility, Sodeca, has resumed distribution of safe drinking water in the town of Bossangoa, where its equipment was looted or damaged during the six-month rebellion that ended in March 2003, state-owned Radio Centrafrique reported on Thursday.

The radio said the residents of Bossangoa, 305 km north of the capital, Bangui, began receiving water on Wednesday after engineers installed a new generator and replaced the damaged pumps.

Bossangoa was one of the towns most affected by the war that pitted rebels then loyal to the present CAR leader, Francois Bozize, against government troops of the then president, Ange-Felix Patasse. Public facilities, including water and electrical installations, were vandalised or looted.

Bozize overthrew Patasse on 15 March 2003, thereby ending the civil war, which led to the return of thousands of displaced people.

Humanitarian charities, supported by the EC's Humanitarian Office, have also started supplying local health facilities with drugs.

In recent months, waterborne diseases were reported in the northwest of the country, where most people rely on wells and rivers for their supplies.

The International Committee of Red Cross is currently implementing an emergency medical, water and sanitation programme for war-affected towns. It donated water-purification chemicals to Sodeca in October 2003.