AUGUST 8, 2010: Thousands of Ex-IDPs Cry for Water

Thousands of Ex-IDPs Cry for Water
SOURCE: New Vision
By Chris Ocowun
Kampala — THOUSANDS of former internally displaced persons (IDPs) in several return villages in Gulu district are appealing for safe water.

About 1,683 communities in the three return villages fetch water from a well at Wang-Tuku in Latyeng village.

"The water from Wang-Tuku is white like milk and heavy like sim-sim paste.

"The well dries up in the dry season. Sometimes the water is full of maggots," Grace Aciro, a resident of Latyeng, stated.

She said because of drinking the dirty water, many residents suffer stomachaches.

"Those with bicycles fetch borehole water from the former IDP camps," Aciro said.

She added that the district had not provided clean water since she returned to her village in February 2008.

Alphonse Ojok of Te-Olam village said: "Even the water from the borehole at Kal Health Centre II is reddish in colour. People use it for bathing and washing utensils only."

He said women walk for about 5km in search of clean water. 

Alex Otim, the Gulu district secretary for works and technical services, said: "We are not going to solve the problem of safe water coverage in the district soon. The district does not have the capacity to do so financially. We shall try to reduce the problem by putting up more safe water points in the heavily-affected villages like Latyeng."

Otim noted that Gulu needs about sh4.5b to drill boreholes in the return villages.

"We are continuing to knock on the doors of the development partners to provide safe water to our people in the return villages," he said.

Otim predicted that by 2014, the safe water coverage in the district would be 80% from the current 60%.

He advised members of the community to boil and use clean pieces of clothes to filter the water before drinking it to avoid catching diseases.