A visit to one of the internally displaced camps in Kasese district, one is welcomed by smiling faces from innocent Children and teenagers mostly below 18 years of age. Hundreds of households were displaced by Floods after River Nyamwamba burst its banks in May 2020.
According to the internally Displaced Monitoring Center (IDMC, 2019) around 16.1 million people in the world were displaced in 2018 because of weather-related events; among them 33 %( 5.4 million) were displaced by floods.
According to the office of the prime minister, disaster department, 65,250 people have been displaced by floods. (Uganda –Flood Impact Mobility Assessment, 4th-28th may 2020)
Hundreds of households have sought refuge in camps and nearby schools. The displacements do not spare the young as they automatically move with their parents or Guardians in times of disasters. They are forced to flee their homes due to the damage caused by the disasters but have not crossed international borders.
On a visit by Joy for Children-Uganda to Kanyangeya internally displaced peoples camp in Kasese district, western Uganda parents spoke of walking for hours to search for fire wood, food and water.
“Every morning i walk from here to Rukoki and Kahonda in search for work so that I can feed my Family, on my way I have search for firewood to use the next day. I cannot sit at home because we have no food”, said the mother of four.
She said she eagerly waits when the Government will relocate them to a safer place with decent accommodation.
One of her daughters, Olivia (not real name) was knocked down by a speeding motor cycle as she was crossing the road to go and look for food.
“I was at home and my siblings started crying because of hunger, so I had to run to look for food but unfortunately as I was entering the road, a motor cycle knocked me and I started bleeding”, says Olivia as she points to the injury on her forehead.
The mud sucks at the little Children’s feet as they play about in the camp and water enters the make shift structures whenever it rains. The head of the household Ndaizimana says the floods destroyed their house, crops and life has been tough ever since they relocated to the camp.
The Children only feed on one a meal day and the adults often sleep hungry or they collect wild fruits for food. She says she has limited knowledge about covid-19 because they have no access to television or radio in the camp.
“We only heard about corona virus when we were still school and we live our normal life in the camp without any precautions of avoiding the virus,” she adds.
On 5th September, Joy for Children-Uganda visited Kanyangeya camp for the displaced persons and delivered food items such as maize flour, beans, sugar and salt. We also had sessions with the teenage girls and distributed sanitary towels to the girls who are currently out of school due to closure of schools and floods. Kasese has been among the districts with high cases of teenage pregnancies in the country since March 2020(2300 cases) and this has been partly attributed to lack of sanitary towels. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JErRdJdqS64
The challenges they express are majorly the lack of sanitary towels, lack of education materials, food and sexual and reproductive health services. Some of the young girls confessed to having slept with older men to get money for buying sanitary towels.
Diana (not real name) is a 16 year old girl; she carries her young sister on her back while she gazes down in shyness. When she starts to talk about how the floods destroyed their home and gardens, sadness in her eyes is evident.
“We were sleeping in the night and then we heard screams and in a very short time, water had soaked our house, we were stuck, water was everywhere. “She says.
“My younger siblings begun to cry because no one had ever seen something like that. We had to walk in the night looking for safe place.” she adds.
It is so devastating to watch and listen to such sad stories of young children but it is our mandate to ensure that children no matter their age, race, gender and physical ability grow up in a safe environment and enjoy their rights as children.
We played and took photos with the children to make a few memories for our visit.
Our campaign is still running and we request for your kind donations to continue supporting the Children and adolescent girls so that they can get back to school in January.