On the shore of the Stanley Pool - a lake formed by the Congo River near Leopoldville - the United Nations are carrying out a swamp-land reclamation scheme.
On the shore of the Stanley Pool - a lake formed by the Congo River near Leopoldville - the United Nations are carrying out a swamp-land reclamation scheme. The aim of the project, filmed on June 12, is twofold: to obtain arable land for the supply of the Leopoldville area with fresh vegetables, and to give work to a large number of the Congolese capital's 75,000 unemployed.
Unemployed is a formidable problem in a country, where general political instability may at any moment provide the spark that will set off a riot among the unoccupied and discontented. The growing lack of fresh food for a rapidly expanding population and the increasing unemployment figures led Mr. Van der Oordt, the United Nations Public Works Chief, to initiate the drainage scheme which will turn 175 acres of swamp into vegetable plantations.
Financed absorbed 2,500 of Leopoldville's unemployed. They cut down trees and plants, clear away roots and undergrowth, then dig ditches for the water to drain back into the Congo. A dam is built around the reclaimed plots to guard against flooding from the river. From the new soil, Leopoldville will get one crop of vegetable per year, as compared with one every years under previous conditions.
This is one of the U.N. contributions towards the re-establishment of the Congolese economy which remains a thorny problem despite the recent improvement of the political scene.