Amid Water Crisis, Mayotte Demands More Action From France

Nestled between Mozambique and Madagascar lies Mayotte, a French territory facing an unprecedented water crisis.

In the picturesque Indian Ocean, nestled between Mozambique and the island of Madagascar lies Mayotte, a French territory facing an unprecedented water crisis. With a population of around 310,000 people, Mayotte is dealing with one of the worst droughts in its history.

Mayotte is now grappling with its worst drought since 1997, a crisis exacerbated by two water reservoirs that have reached critical levels, one at a mere 7% of capacity and the other at 6%, CNN reported.

According to Al Jazeera, Mayotte is the poorest place in the European Union. The crisis has sparked protests and residents calling for France to do more.

Mayotte was colonized by France in 1841, the island was formally recognized as a French department in 2011. Mayotte is legally a French overseas department. Overseas departments (DOM) are territorial authorities integrated into the French Republic in the same capacity as the departments and regions in Metropolitan France. Mayotte has the same status as the 96 departments on the French mainland and is subject to French law and governance.

In response to the crisis, the French government has shipped 600,000 liters of bottled water to the island, deployed troops and civil servants for water distribution, and suspended water bills for all residents. Still, many Mahorais, as the island’s inhabitants are known, are complaining that they feel abandoned by the authorities.

“The authorities seem absent in our daily suffering,” Douainda Attoumani, 27, told CNN. Her household has 10 people–her parents, her sister, four brother, and two cousins. She asked, “When we have no water, what are we actually going to do? We’re going to die of thirst.”

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