France is sending 600,000 liters of drinking water by ship to the overseas territory of Mayotte Island, which has been suffering water shortages for months, media reports said Saturday.
The ship, which sailed at night from La Reunion, another overseas French territory, is expected to arrive at the Longoni Port on the island Sept. 20.
The water will be distributed in cities with the support of the army.
Priority will be given to infants, pregnant women, disabled people and those older than 65 with serious diseases.
About 300,000 residents live on Mayotte Island, which neighbors Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.
Muslims make up the majority of the population -- the "poorest and youngest populated province" of France.
The province has experienced repeated periods of drought for years.
The situation has caused water outages on the island while affecting drinking water reserves.
- 48-hour water outages
Mayotte Island has been experiencing the most serious drought period since 1997 and residents have been able to access drinking water in their homes every three days since Sept. 4.
Due to the decision by local authorities, 48-hour water cuts have been made on the island and residents are buying pet bottled water to meet their daily water needs.
Pet bottled water prices in stores on the island have been criticized for being two to three times higher than on the mainland.
The Younoussa Bamana High School closed its doors Sept. 4 and sent 2,600 students home due to the water outage.
*Writing by Merve Berker
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