The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) Contingent operating under the East African Regional Force (EACRF) to keep peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) joined the Local Community to fight against the Cholera outbreak disease.
The disease has been registered in Mabenga and Kiwanja of Rutshuru territory.
Hence restoring clean piped water in Tshengerero Cell has been one of the remedies to curtail the rampant spread of the waterborne disease.
The UPDF Contingent water engineering team provided technical support in the fixing of a 400-metre-long plastic water pipeline into a metallic pipe, earlier vandalized by local scrap dealers within Bunagana town.
The project will provide safe water to Tshengerero Centre and the surrounding villages of Mukingo, Cheya, Rubona and Kibindi localities (Parishes) in the Jomba Group Sub-county where the local leadership has so far registered the Cholera epidemics.
Col Michael Walaka Hyeroba the UPDF Contingent Commander said that lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation is the underlying cause of the water born epidemics as the community resorted to using contaminated water and food coupled with poor faecal waste matter disposal which could possibly be the leading cause of the infectious disease in some parts of Mabenga and Rutshuru. “We cannot say that we are in DRC to provide peace and security to the people of Rutshuru territory when people lack water as one of the basic needs of life. It’s therefore critical that we had to ensure that the community has access to adequate, clean and safe water to enable good sanitation as soon as possible to curtail the spread of Cholera,” he elaborated.
Maj James Mukwhana, the deputy commanding Officer of UPDF 27th Battalion based in Tshengerero said the response is in line with the fight against Cholera which is Uganda’s Contingent enemy for now.
Mr. Sejumba Kamara, the local Chief of the area said that the earlier water facility was built by KOGA, a Community Based Organization before war erupted in the territory in 2021 as it served over 1000 people with clean and adequate water.
However, the metallic water pipes and other structures were vandalized by metal scrap dealers who cut off thousands of people from accessing sufficient clean water amidst the threat of the dreaded Cholera. “We thank UPDF for their quick and timely response to the community. This time, we shall protect the water pipes to ensure that no one tampers with the facility including its accessories,” said Chef Kamara.
The cholera epidemic was registered in some areas of Mabenga and Kiwanja as reported by Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) and the Red Cross Society in June 2023.
These organisations responded by setting up management camps in Kiwanja and Rutshuru that included a community sensitization drive in an effort to curtail the spread of the disease as the sickness has so far claimed 13 deaths between 28 06 2023 and 03 07 2023.