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Thousands of people in Yei River County at risk from dirty water

YEI - More than five thousand citizens in Yei River County survive by drinking unclean water from traditional wells, putting them at risk of catching water-borne diseases.

A child in Pokula Boma fetches water, January 28.
© The Niles | Alfred Taban

Local citizens are faced with a difficult choice: Either they are strong enough to walk long distances to bore holes -- or they drink dirty well water.

Freza Ladu Anania, Sub-Chief of Pokula Boma, said government offices had ignored their repeated requests for clean water. He said that his region, which lies close to the Ugandan and the Democratic Republican of Congo border, was being ignored by those in charge of the world’s youngest nation.

“Where are we as the people of Pokula belonging? Are we part of South Sudan?” Ladu asked.

More than 5,500 people live in the Boma regoin but they only have clean water from three bore holes. As a result most depend on traditional wells which are shared by both humans and animals.

Gladie Paya speaking with The Niles, January 28.
© The Niles | Alfred Taban
Local resident, 70-year-old Gladies Paya, expressed concern at the risk of contracting diseases. She blamed local leadership for not protecting the community.

“The leaders in the Boma are not committed in following and submitting challenges that citizens in the community face. In the end this will affect the health of the people in the community,” Paya said. “If they care about us why are they not coming down to the community to see the type of water we drink?”  

Diarrhea and vomiting are common among local people, she said.

Meanwhile the Assistant Commissioner for water and sanitation in Yei County, Juma Hassan Mansua, said that his department is trying to solve the challenges. He said that, because the government works in tandem with non-governmental organisations, changing infrastructure can take time.

He urged citizens to remain patient. The German government’s development agency GIZ is in the process of installing underground water supply but they are yet to reach most areas around the town of Yei.


The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the positions or opinions of the publishers of www.theniles.org

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