In response to the most severe drought Mayotte has experienced in decades, the French government and local authorities in the overseas territory are taking drastic measures to ensure inhabitants get basic access to water. The unprecedented shortage is pushing locals into desperation and mounting tensions at a time when Mayotte is also seeing rampant crime.
Getting access to tap water in Mayotte, a French overseas territory in the Indian Ocean northwest of Madagascar, has become an uphill battle. Since September 4, residents have only had access to the archipelago’s water supply for two days out of three on average.
Mayotte is facing the worst drought it has seen since the late 1990s. To cope, local authorities have taken measures over the past six months to preserve what little water is left.
The latest water cuts, varying in intensity from town to town, have been the most drastic so far.
“It all depends on where you live and which water system you’re dependent on,” says Andrea, who has lived in Mayotte for a year. “On good days, we have a little bit of water every day. On bad days, we don’t have any running water … and if it comes out of the tap, it’s undrinkable. That’s the current situation, and things are only getting worse.”
*Name has been changed to protect confidentiality
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