29 September 2017

Gambia: Water Crisis Hits Kuntuar Fulla Kunda

Residents of Kuntuar Fulla Kunda have bemoaned the extreme hardship they encounter daily in getting water for domestic consumption.

Alhagi Jaiteh the youth leader of the village, indicated that while many villages around the country are struggling for safe drinking water in recent years, the situation in Kuntuar Fulla Kunda has reached the extreme.

Mr Jaiteh said there is only one hand pump out of four in the locality and the other three are either in bad state and needed repair or have been put out of use, the consequence of which is dire on their community.

"There is increasing school drop outs more prevalent among girls who are frequently tasked to provide water for their households. They travel around the community for possible sources of water to fetch and take home in twenty liter containers," stated Mr Jaiteh.

The Kuntuar Fulla Kunda Youth Leader asserted that the girls and women folk wake up as early as 5 o'clock in the morning, to trek long distances in search of water for sustenance;

that the recent floods in the community seems to have worsen the situation because the community relies on the hand pumps at the Lower and Upper Basic Schools, creating an uncomfortable environment for pupils and students.

Mr. Jaiteh noted that the concerns among the locals is that parents would have no choice but to withdraw their girlchild as well as the boys from school and ask them to fetch water; that most parents are either too old or lack the strength to travel far in search of safe drinking water.

"In addition to the serious water scarcity, the quality of the water is another cause for concern causing health hazards for the community as the water is contaminated with impurities. This was evident in the recent research conducted by the department of water resources and the health authorities warned us not to use the water from some of these wells," revealed the youth leader. "I am still puzzled by the fact that after 52 years of independence, a village as populated as Kuntaur Fulla kunda in the heart of Niani, does not have a single tap water supply, let alone safe drinking water from other avenues," Alhagi said.

The youth leader said many local initiatives have been taken but that these have all proven to be insufficient; that the community has been involved in many fundraising activities, the proceeds of which were used to dig two boreholes. But to their disappointment, the water from one of the wells was deemed unsuitable for public use, according to the test conducted.

ALHAGI JAITEH YOUTH LEADER

Mr Jaiteh went further to state that after another recent survey by water experts, the only borehole left had to be abandoned too due to health and safety concerns of the tank.

The Youth Leader Alhagi Jaiteh concluded by calling on the Central government, Kuntuar Area Council, NGOs, the NAM of the area and philanthropists, to come to their aid for them to have clean water for the community.

Alhagi has given the following contact numbers, (+220) 6338546/3169668, should anybody want to assist them.

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