21 September 2017

Gambia: Safe Drinking Water Crisis in Fullakunda Kunda Village,Niani District, Crr.

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I am the youth leader of Fulla-Kunda village, Niani District, Central River Region. I am writing on behalf of the home village of Fulla-Kunda to request your urgent attention to the ongoing safe drinking water crisis in the community. Fulla-Kunda village has a problem; it is frequently running out of water. While many villages around the country have been struggling for safe drinking water in recent years; however, the situation in Fulla-Kunda is extreme.

There is only one hand pump in the locality; the other three are either in bad conditions or out of use. The consequence of this is dire on our community. There is an ever-increasing school dropouts, more prevalent among girls. These girls are frequently tasked to provide water for their households by plying around the community for possible sources.

The girls, together with our women folks, have to wake up as early as 5am to trek long distances in search of water for sustenance.

Furthermore, the recent floods in the community seem to have worsen the situations. Things have gotten so bad that the community is now relying on the hand pumps at the Lower Basic and Upper Basic Schools - thus creating an uncomfortable environment for the students. The concern now among the locals is that parents would have no choice but to remove not just the girls but also the male students as well from school to use them to fetch water as most parents are either too old or lack the strength to travel far and wide in search of safe drinking water.

In addition to the serious water scarcity, the quality of the drinking water is another cause for concern. This is causing several health hazards as contamination of the drinking water with iron impurities, chloride etc were found in our drinking water which was evident in the recent research conducted by the Department of Water Resources (copies of research results attached).

I am still puzzled by the fact that after 52 years of independence, a village as populated as Fulla-Kunda in the heart of Niani only 3-4 kilometres from Kuntaur-Wharftown has not got a single tap let alone safe drinking water. I would imagine access to safe drinking water is essential for all to preserve good health and better quality of life.

Many local initiatives have been taken but all have proven insufficient. The community has been involved in so many fundraisings which got two boreholes dug but water from one of them was deemed unsuitable from the test conducted. After another recent survey from experts, the only borehole left had to be abandoned too due to health and safety concerns with the tank.

Therefore, I humbly request the concerned authorities to consider this matter seriously and take necessary measures to solving the problem for the community to have clean water supply system in the locality.

I remain yours truly,

Alhagie Jaiteh (Youth Leader )

Gambia

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