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Sep6TueSalvation Army continues drought response in Uganda (update September 6) September 6, 2011 by Damaris Frick, International Emergency Services
The Salvation Army in Uganda is responding to drought conditions that have taken hold across much of the horn of Africa. Children are particularly vulnerable, with malnourishment among under-fives having increased dramatically.
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In one district the government now uses two health centres – Magada and Nsinze Clinics – solely for the purpose of dealing with malnourished children. The Red Cross and UNICEF are providing food but children and their families have been sleeping on the ground, there is no water and hygiene is a major problem.
When Salvation Army assessment teams became aware of the situation they stepped in to provide 200 mattresses, 200 jerrycans, 200 wash basins, 500 long bars of soap and 100 jerrycans of liquid soap. Plans are under way to sink a borehole so there is a constant supply of clean water. The Salvation Army's support is greatly appreciated. It is making a small but significant difference to the children and their families.
The staff in these compact health centres work day and night to look after more than 250 children. The night before The Salvation Army delivered the mattresses one child had died. Another nine were buried only a few days earlier. But the problem seen in the health centres is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a large number of malnourished children in the surrounding villages. The local government has started a campaign to encourage villagers to bring their children to the health centres before it is too late.
In one of the villages a Salvation Army project officer met a young woman, Nalongo. Her name means 'mother of the twins'. She told him that her breast milk had run dry, probably because she had not eaten sufficiently. Once a day she tries to feed the babies porridge made of cassava flour, which is not very nutritious – but it's all she can afford.
Mothers like Nalongo are in a very difficult situation. The project officer encouraged her to go to the local health centre with her children. In the meantime she was one of the more than 700 families who benefited from food provided by The Salvation Army. Each family received 15 kg of maize and 10 kg of beans.
More projects are planned and an international Salvation Army team is on its way to assist the Uganda Command.
The drought in east Africa is set to last for some time. Donations to The Salvation Army's Africa Disaster Fund will allow teams in Uganda and other east African countries to provide vital assistance. Support has been offered from around The Salvation Army world, with donations already received (as at September 6) from Salvationists and members of the public online as well as from The Salvation Army's Australia Eastern; Australia Southern; Canada and Bermuda; Hong Kong and Macau; India Central; Indonesia; The Netherlands and Czech Republic; New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga; Southern Africa; USA Central; USA Southern; and USA Western Territories.
The Salvation Army supplies food, water and medical assistance as thousands struggle to survive
The Salvation Army in Uganda is responding to the drought crisis that is developing in some parts of the country. As is being seen across the horn of Africa, people are dying because of a lack of food and water.
In central eastern Uganda, thousands of families have had poor harvests for the past five years, either because there was too little rain or – at other times – because there was so much rain that floods have destroyed the crops.
The Salvation Army has been working in the area, distributing food to needy families – in some places The Salvation Army is the only non-governmental organisation providing food.
Following recent landslides in a mountainous region, food was distributed to 680 families.
Staff from The Salvation Army's command headquarters and International Emergency Services visited villages in the Namutumba district near Mbale to assess the needs of 4,000 families. Projects are being arranged for food and sanitation goods to be supplied.
Boreholes will be drilled to ensure water is available to the most needy of families, even as the drought takes a greater hold.
The most urgent need is for water in two medical clinics. Mothers have been bringing malnourished children into the clinics, but more than 80 have died this year alone. A water bore for the main clinic will help to boost survival rates.
The message from the Uganda Command and International Emergency Services is simple: please pray for the situation and support this work in any way possible.