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Salvation Army continues drought response in Uganda

Lives at risk as drought expected to continue for some time

 

Salvation Army team members give out mattresses, soap and jerrycans to families of children being treated at two clinics in Uganda. Photo courtesy of International Headquarters

The Salvation Army in Uganda continues to respond to the drought conditions affecting much of the Horn of Africa. Children are particularly vulnerable, and malnourishment has increased dramatically among youngsters under 5 years old.

In one district the government now uses two health centers—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, and with no water, 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 to provide a constant supply of clean water. The support of The Salvation Army is making a small but significant difference to the children and their families.

The staff in these compact health centers 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 centers is just the tip of the iceberg. A large number of malnourished children live in the surrounding villages. The local government has started a campaign to encourage villagers to bring their children to the health centers 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 center 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 expected 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 of Sept. 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.

Report by Damaris Frick
International Emergency Services

 

Donations to the Africa Disaster Fund at International Headquarters can be made online at www.salvationarmy.org.

 

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