Good news for the 101st French department. The distribution of bottled water to the entire population of Mayotte began on Monday to help the inhabitants of the archipelago cope with an exceptional drought. After reserving it for the most vulnerable, the authorities announced the extension of the supply of bottled water to the entire population of the island from Monday 20 November.

Some 330,000 litres of water will be distributed every day, said the Minister Delegate in charge of the Overseas Territories, Philippe Vigier, during a visit to the Indian Ocean archipelago in early November. In the west of the main island, on this Monday morning, about thirty people are waiting to register with the agents of the communal social action center (CCAS) of Chiconi and get their free packs.

Each municipality has at least one distribution point

"It's a help we can't miss," said Amina Abdallah, who was standing in line in a city square facing the bay. "We can't drink tap water anymore: we had diarrhoea, vomiting... For several weeks now, we had to buy bottled water, at about 8 euros a pack. But it weighs heavily financially," said the woman, who returned to Mayotte in September to take care of her mother after spending 17 years in Brittany.

After an hour and a half of patience, the mother of three finally picks up five packs for her household. One per person, for one week. In total, Mayotte welcomed 150 firefighters and civil security soldiers to ensure distribution to the entire population. Each municipality has at least one distribution point. In Grand-Mamoudzou, residents can go to seven sites, depending on the sector.

For Melissa Dumand, however, these distributions come "a little late". "For weeks or even months, there have been serious doubts about the drinkability of tap water. For families, it's very burdensome. Water packs are expensive and they are not always available in the shops," says the local resident.

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