CRWRC is responding to provide relief to the people of Teso in Uganda—a people already tragically familiar with devastation and disaster. The recent floods now threaten to thrust their most vulnerable into a desperate situation.
In August of 2007, floods struck approximately 14 countries across Western to Eastern Africa, with northeastern Uganda being one of the worst-affected regions across the continent. The floods in the Teso sub-region of northeastern Uganda have reached catastrophic proportions, causing Ugandan Parliament to declare the first ever state of emergency in Uganda. Such flooding is unprecedented in Teso.
The current floods have affected approximately 50,000 households, or 300,000 individuals throughout Uganda. In the immediate term, health, sanitation, and food security remain concerns. Long-term food security is also now under threat as approximately 90% of the first season harvest in the affected areas are estimated to be lost, with the prospect for planting during the second season dwindling. At this time, the need for relief in the Teso sub-region in the short, medium, and long term is apparent.
According to Jim Zylstra’s October newsletter, “Crops are rotting in the fields, houses are collapsing, people have drowned, and little food is available… Hundreds of thousands of people are affected.”
CRWRC intends to work with the partners in seeking funding from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) for a food, non-food item, and seed program in the affected Teso sub-region.
Ben DeVries, CRWRC's full-time relief coordinator for Eastern and Southern Africa, is currently working with CRWRC's development team , the Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG), The Church of Uganda Teso Dioceses Planning and Development Office (COU-TEDDO), and the Mennonite Central Committee of Canada (MCC-C) towards the formation of a flood relief consortium. Greta Eelkema leaves on November 2nd to serve as International Relief Manager (IRM) in the Teso region.
CRWRC is working together with these partners to plan a relief response that will aim to meet the specific needs of the affected populations within the Teso region. According to ongoing assessments by CRWRC, its partners, and other agencies, food aid will be needed during the upcoming months as most of the affected people have lost access to food. Non-food items (NFIs), especially insecticide-treated mosquito nets, are also needed to address the immediate health needs of those affected by the floods.
Beyond the immediate term, there is a need to plan for long-term recovery interventions, including especially seed and food distributions in the affected districts. WFP reported a 90% loss of crops (including post-harvest due to the inability to process crops in flooded areas), indicating the likelihood of food insecurity during the upcoming year. Some of the commonly grown crops in the Teso region include cassava, ground nuts, sorghum, millet, and sweet potatoes. While unpredictable weather patterns in the region are rendering such planning for long-term food security difficult, the possibility of drought following the floods underscores the importance for long-term food security programming.
Please pray for this much-needed relief effort conducted by CRWRC and its partners. Financial donations can be given to CRWRC in support of these efforts. Checks should be made out to CRWRC and marked “Uganda Floods 2007”. Gifts can also be given online or by calling 1-800-55-CRWRC or 1-800-730-3490.
by Christina de Jong