Life-saving water delivered to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda

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Adjumani, Uganda  22nd January 2014
by Mai Gad, DanChurchAid/Lutheran World Federation

In Adjumani, northern Uganda, the number of refugees from South Sudan stands at 43,916. It is estimated that more than 59,479 people have entered Uganda through different border points and are hosted in the Districts of Adjumani, Arua and Kiryandongo. UNHCR reports gaps in water, sanitation, health and protection -- and more funds are urgently required in order to address these needs.

“We are not used to fetching water from a borehole,” says 25-year old Sara Tarakila. She is standing at one of the boreholes rehabilitated by ACT member Lutheran World Federation (LWF), talking to James Drichi, one of the LWF staff in charge of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) promotion in Nyumanzi Refugee Settlement, in Adjumani. James Drichi helps advise the chairperson of the borehole, shows the community how to keep the borehole clean, and demonstrates how to pump water in way that will not destroy the pump.


“We are very happy to be here in safety in Uganda, and it is good that we can now get enough water, before we were struggling, there was not enough water, but now things are improving here,” Sara says and smiles. She is among the thousands of South Sudanese who were forced to flee from the fighting which erupted on 15th December, 2013 in Juba to Uganda where she could find safety.

When refugees began to flee to Uganda, LWF was among the first to arrive at Dzaipi transit site, providing refugees with basic services and goods such as 2,000 plastic cups, 2,000 plates, 1000 water jericans and 7 tons of soap. So far LWF has rehabilitated four boreholes in Nyumanzi Settlement, and the drilling of 6 new boreholes is underway. Three of the boreholes will directly benefit refugees in the settlement, and one will be for the host community.

Support to Ugandans help ensure peaceful co-existence

As part of the support to rehabilitate boreholes and build new ones, Lutheran World Federation is also planning to ensure that the host community can benefit from these activities. “This is important in order to ensure peaceful co-existence between the refugees and the host community,” says James.

When we visit one of the LWF-constructed boreholes, it is afternoon. The dust is hanging in the air, there is noise around the borehole, a a large number of jericans and containers are lined up, and many women are waiting to fetch water. It has not rained for months here.

Aurelia, the chairperson of this particular borehole, gives more information on this particular water source. “This borehole did not work for a long while, but LWF came and repaired it. Before I had to fetch water 3 kilometres away, but now it is near my home. I am happy it has been repaired. The only worry I have is that many people now share this borehole,” she says.

“I was a refugee and went from Uganda to Sudan when I was just 13 years old. I am happy that we can also welcome the South Sudanese here,” says 30-year-old Aurelia. Aurelia is a native of Adjumani District in Ige village, near Nyumanzi Settlement -- where 16,044 refugees from South Sudan are currently settled.


Still need for more support

The current situation in Nyumanzi Settlement is particularly critical in terms of water. There is only 7,3 litres of water to one person per day, yet humanitarian standards (like SPHERE, for example) recommend 15 litres per person in one day.

“The situation is improving, but we are not yet there at all, we still need to construct at least 90 boreholes, as well as latrines and bathing shelters, and as Nyumanzi gets full we need to also construct and rehabilitate in the new settlements,” says Arnold Kasoba, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Officer from UNHCR in Adjumani.

UNHCR team leader Amr Marei also emphasize dthe need for more support to the refugee response: “I was thinking about where there are gaps today, and there are gaps everywhere at the moment.”



Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 February 2014 08:10 )  

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