BUDUDA – Last December, sudden and heavy flash floods and mudslides killed more than 40 people and left thousands displaced and without shelter in the eastern and western regions of Uganda. Many homes and roads were destroyed and washed away by heavy downpours and the resultant floods and mudslides.
John Giboyi, a primary school teacher is one of the thousands affected who will be assisted by the new emergency funds. He was displaced after losing his home in Buwonagewa village in Zesuyi sub-county of Sironko district in eastern Uganda. He says many are desperate for basic services such as proper shelter, food and water.
“We have been getting some water from a stream, but it is not safe; it has a milky colour and small particles. We use that water because we have nothing to do, but we worry that anytime we might [get sick from] cholera,” says Giboyi.
Under the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, (CERF), IOM is planning to provide water, sanitation and hygiene services. Repairs will also be carried out on dozens of existing water hand pumps, wells and springs in the area – most of them damaged by the floods and mudslides. To ensure safe drinking water is available for those affected, households will also get storage containers and water-purifying agents such as aqua tabs
The project will further establish, train and equip 18 community-based WASH Management Committees at existing water points. These committees will take responsibility for operation and maintenance (O&M) of the water sources in Bududa and Sironko districts.
Another 50 community volunteers will be trained in water quality testing and monitoring.
The project will also address challenges related to sanitation. In Partnership with Care and Assistance for Forced Migrants (CAFOMI), IOM will install at least 150 emergency mobile toilets; rehabilitate four institutional latrines (including in schools and health centres), and distribute 2,000 hygiene kits to help minimize the risk of diseases.
In addition, using its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), IOM will support the overall flood response by providing vital information on the affected communities in the two districts, as well as in the southwestern district of Bundibugyo.
“We are grateful that the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund has enabled us to complement Government efforts to assist the affected people,” said Erika De Bona, IOM Uganda’s acting Chief of Mission.
“In such an emergency situation, it is important to secure the water provision, hygiene, and sanitation services, so as to avoid WASH-related diseases and allow people to start on the road to recovery.”
The Chief Administrative Officer for Bududa district, Ms Tappy Namulondo, said, “This project is going to be very helpful to us because it is addressing one of the key challenges here. We recently had cholera because of poor sanitation.”
She added, “We need safe water sources, because we have a gravity flow [piped water] scheme but it does not reach everywhere. Then sanitation is a challenge: people need to be sensitized about issues such as digging latrines.”