80% Of Boreholes In Kitgum Town Council Contaminated - Official

2832 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
At least 80 percent of boreholes serving communities in Kitgum Town Council have been contaminated by faecal material from nearby pit latrines, the district water officer has warned. Oryem Peter Okema says several boreholes and pit latrines sunk to serve displaced persons that took refuge in Kitgum Town Council during the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency have not been decommissioned.

At least 80 percent of boreholes serving communities in Kitgum Town Council have been contaminated by faecal material from nearby pit latrines, the district water officer has warned.
 
Oryem Peter Okema says the boreholes are contaminated by numerous underground latrine lines feeding human waste into them. He says they were prompted to test all the boreholes for contamination after 80 inmates at Kitgum Government Prison were treated for typhoid at Kitgum Main hospital.
 
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Several boreholes and pit latrines sunk to serve displaced persons that took refuge in Kitgum Town Council during the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency have not been decommissioned.
 
Okema says the boreholes were being treated by humanitarian agencies that have since left the district. He urged communities to practice disease prevention strategies to avoid contracting diseases from the boreholes while consuming water from them. The World Health Organisation recommends treating and boiling all drinking water drawn from open and suspicious sources to kill contamination.
 
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Uganda’s public health policy prohibits sinking pit latrines in urban areas served by the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC). Okema says the NWSC is barely a year in Kitgum Town Council trying to expand supply. The policy requires all boreholes to be sunk 50 metres from a water source but in Kitgum Town Council, some are as close as 10 metres to water sources.
 
The district water officer urged Town Council authorities to phase out pit latrines from the town council to improve sanitation in the town. Ojara Richard Okwera, the Kitgum town Council chairperson, earlier said his council is waiting for NWSC to stabilize the supply of clean and safe water to phase out pit latrines from the town council.

 

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.