29 December 2011

Uganda: People, Animals Share Water in Lamwo

Lamwo — At least 4,000 residents of Lamwo District have turned to using contaminated water after several bore-holes sunk by aid agencies broke down.

The residents said since the boreholes became non-functional about five months ago, they have been sharing the same water with animals from streams eight miles away from their homes.

Ms Doreen Laker of Oboko Village in Agoro Sub-county said: "We are now being forced to travel for a distance to search for any kind of water because the bore-holes that have been helping us have all broken down." She added that since many of the NGOs closed their shops, the community has failed to raise the required money for repairs.

Meanwhile, Mr George Abonga of Palabek-kal Village, said the situation has been worsened by the current dry season that makes it harder for women to get available water in streams. Agoro Sub-county Chairman Ben Owali, whose area is adversely affected, said 12 villages are in dire need of support because the communities cannot raise the money required for the bore-holes repair.

"The NGOs vested the mandates of repairing the bore-holes on the people without considering their plight," he said.

The district water officer, Ms Grace Acayo, said clean water coverage in the district is still only at 34 per cent, a situation that could expose many people to water-borne diseases if not addressed. She observed that the district is incapacitated to repair all the spoilt water points because of limited central government allocations.

The LC5 Chairman, Mr Mathew Akiya, however, blamed the woes on the community's lack of collective responsibility but said Oxfarm, a non-governmental organisation operating in the district, has already secured some spare parts for the boreholes.

"What we are lacking now is the technical people to repair them, otherwise we have managed to get some spare parts," Mr Akiya told Daily Monitor on phone on Wednesday. Many aid agencies during the emergency period concentrated their support in the former camps leaving return areas without the necessary facilities.

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