Water In Sierra Leone
Momoh, 33, collects plastic bottles from the polluted beach of Kroo Bay, a poor slum settlement of 5,500 people in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The cholera outbreak of 2012 struck hardest in the slums, where crowded and unsanitary living conditions and unsafe water sources allowed the disease to spread rapidly through the densely populated areas.
The Susan's Bay slum. In Freetown’s slums dripping standpipes are the major source of water. During the cholera outbreak, the clinic in one poor neighborhood called Susan’s Bay worked 24 hours per day. Patients came to the clinic for treatment but health workers also went out visit the homebound; the disabled, the elderly and people with HIV/AIDS.
A boy washes in the second of two water points in Kroo Bay. The area is without access to clean water. Efforts to chlorinate these water points through the slum face behavioral challenges from the population: cholera and other water-borne diseases thrive in these conditions, chlorine in the wells degrades as they are used and the buckets used to retrieve the water are often dirty.
Freetown is a coastal city built for 600,000 and is occupied by nearly 2 million. The World Health Organization has reported 18,919 cases of cholera with 273 deaths since the beginning of 2012. International aid organizations have pressed for continued efforts to stabilize the spread while Sierra Leone’s government has declared a national emergency.
A public latrine in the Grey Bush. Open defecation is common while public bathrooms are generally in poor order and are costly to use. To use a toilet costs around 500 Leones, or $0.11 cents, which is striking when according to statistics from the World Bank the majority of the 6 million people live on less than $1.25 a day.