Residents of crisis-hit Mayotte warned to avoid 'defective' bottled water

People in the French overseas department of Mayotte battling a dual water crisis and cholera epidemic have been warned not to drink a batch of "defective" bottled water imported to the Indian Ocean archipelago.

Health authorities said water bottles from the Cristaline Elena brand with the M1 03/11/25 batch number "smelled of hydrocarbons" and were not safe for consumption.

The number of bottles affected was not revealed, but they are believed to have been distributed to several supermarkets.

An earlier batch of Cristaline bottles was deemed unfit for consumption last January.

Access to drinking water has been severely disrupted on Mayotte since September – with running tap water to homes cut off one day out of every three.

Devastating drought

France’s poorest department, Mayotte is facing its worst drought since 1997. Its water supply depends largely on rainwater.

The lack of rain has been aggravated by poor infrastructure and investment in a territory that is also under pressure from illegal immigration from the neighbouring Comoros.

Making things worse is a recent cholera epidemic that claimed its first life, a three-year-old boy, last week.

Many inhabitants of live in unsanitary conditions with very limited access to water.

Read more on RFI English

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