Former Internally Displaced People in Northern Uganda are struggling with lack of access to clean water. In some villages in Amuru, people walk for more than seven kilometers to the nearest shallow wells that are shared with animals. 55-year-old Santa Amwony, a resident of Agole Village in Palwang Parish in Amuru is one of those who have returned back home after spending close to two decades in the camp. She explains that the biggest challenge facing the resettlement is lack of access to a water point. Amwony says that she and other people are forced to walk for a distance of about seven kilometers to get water from a shallow well.
She says that it takes them more than three hours to get a twenty litter jerrycan of water because of the distance and the high number of people who fetch water from the same source. She says the dry spell being experienced in northern Uganda has worsened the shortage of water as the shallow wells have also dried up forcing people to spend long hours in search of water. Amos Ongom, a resident of Labala Parish in Pabbo Sub-county says the worst problem is that people share the same water source with animals. He explains that several people have fallen sick as a resulting of drinking dirty water that is fetched from the shallow wells where animals drink from.
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Kennedy Ochole, a resident of Palwang Parish in Amuru district says members of his family often develop diarrhea after drinking the water but that they have no to turn to.
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The situation is not any different in neighboring Gulu district. Isaac Newton Ojok, the Vice Chairperson of Gulu district explains that during the insurgency government only setup protected water sources in the former IDP camps. Ojok says the returnees are now facing the problem of accessing water sources because the camps have been dismantled and the boreholes decommissioned. He says the leadership of Gulu carried out an assessment and realized that the statistics showing that access to clean water coverage is at 80% is misleading because there are no clean water sources in the villages.
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The plight of the former IDPs comes at a time when billions of shillings that the donors contributed for reconstructing northern Uganda got stolen by officials from the Office of the Prime Minister. The theft of the funds is now a subject of police investigations.