Melut County - This week, heavy rains accompanied by strong winds destroyed classrooms, shelters and shared latrines affecting hygiene and sanitation of over 1,000 people living in two internally-displaced camps Dengthoma 1 and 2 and nearby villages. It blew the roofs and damaged the structures of schools in the two camps leaving 330 children without classrooms.
Head teacher John Mayen says, “This will disrupt their learning schedules and I am worried they will not be able to cover their syllabus on time.” The children without classrooms were studying under the tree and available areas. They shortened the classes into two sessions for lack of facilities to protect children from bad weather. The schools’ latrines were also destroyed and the remaining ones were shared by boys and girls.
Around the camps, several latrine blocks were destroyed affecting 123 households. People are worried of the outbreak of diseases as many started to defecate in open spaces. “Some have resorted to use open spaces and the nearby bush. The lucky ones are using their neighbors’ latrines that were not affected. The most vulnerable has no alternative at all”, says Joseph Kuol, chairman of Dethoma 2.
Nyanchol is a lead mother in Dethoma 2’s mother-to-mother support group supported by World Vision. The demonstration garden she cultivated along with other mothers was destroyed and she feels sad that they lost the crops to goats after the storm blew away the fence. “The garden has been productive and helpful in providing food and income for our families. We have plenty of vegetables and we did not struggle for food. All we need was harvest from our garden”, she shares.
Roofs of some classrooms were blown away but this did not deter teachers and children to resume classes.
She added that the garden not only generated them income but provided a variety of food that contributed in reducing malnutrition on children, pregnant and lactating mothers. The crops included cow peas, kudra, okra, Sukuma and onions. The mothers appeal for immediate support to restore their garden, materials for the fence, local vegetable seeds and support for them to be assisted in operating the water pump.
“It is saddening that the fruits of the joint efforts of the communities and World Vision were gone in a flash. However, I feel reassured to see the affected families show of resilience by salvaging some materials and starting to help themselves”, laments Wilson Kipkoech, World Vision’s program manager for Melut and Renk operations.
The camps are located along the Nile River and fear of water-borne diseases have been expressed by the mothers and community leaders. The immediate construction of the hygiene facilities will help avert the potential outbreak and protect hundreds of vulnerable children living in the camps and villages. World Vision has completed assessment of the affected households and prepares immediate rehabilitation of latrines, the restoration of mothers' gardens and support for shelters in coordination with UN Office on the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
World Vision has been working in Dengthoma camps 1 and 2 since 2015 and is supporting over 40,000 people with various food security, health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives. It also has established and supports all the schools in the two camps.
Photos and report by World Vision's Melut Operations Team
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