Too much rain. No drinking water

“There is too much rain here in Arua crops are dying,” reports Charity. In contrast, Nelson Amati from Maracha district, a small area that was curved out of Arua district grieves. “Please help and help because I feel we in Yepi village, Yivu sub county in Maracha district are not Ugandans. This is due to the persistent water problem which is not given consideration by those in authority despite the government programmes like NUSAF.”

It is the perennial paradox of the African existence. Nature is generous with us but somehow we still come out short on the basic things that make life liveable let alone good. The West Nile area of Uganda is currently being pounded by huge amounts of rainfall, to the extent that farmers wish it would stop because it is destroying crops. Nonetheless, ‘drinking water’ remains a scarce commodity in the same area.

Sunde from Aii-vu sub-county in Arua district illustrates the nature such persistent water problems that Amati speaks of. In Aiju, Sunde’s village, “People have to move long distance to access clean water as there are only two boreholes supplying the village and surrounding one.” Of the two boreholes, one is attached to a primary school which is 6 kilometres away from Sunde’s village. The other requires that the residents of Ajia, (Sunde’s village), trek all the way through Vurumbe village at whose extreme end the water source is located. Moreover, this second borehole is essentially private property. It was constructed by a sympathiser for a certain family. As a result, “people end up collecting water from small running waters' that spring up in rain seasons but dry up in dry seasons.” Even in the rainy season, these sources wouldn’t be recommended because they are a major source of water borne diseases including diarrohea and worms.

Meanwhile, the dirge against the intensity of rains continues. “We are having heavy rainfall in our subcounty, vurra. It is destroying which had reached harvest stage,” says Luke Dradebo of Arua district. He fears that his sub county is going to reckon with hunger in the coming few months. Emmanuel Bossmbaya says the rains have caused flooding which has destroyed more than 70 hectares of garden in Itula subcounty Moyo. He explains that the devastation has particularly been felt in a communally cultivated area of the district that is designated for maize, sorghum and rice growing. All these are as important to food security in the area as they are to raising incomes for the families.

As if to compound the contrast, Odii, from Ayivu in Arua reports, “ our village is out of drinking water. We need clean water because it’s life.” His village doesn’t have a borehole just like Molujei village in Zombo district from which New-Hapa received this report; “All the protected springs made under NUSAF 2007/8 are dysfunctional.” Neither is the situation any different in Yumbe district. One Peter, from Yumbe reports to News-Hapa, “we don’t have a borehole in our village.”

- Aug. 16, 2013
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