Plea from refugees in Uganda

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Northern Uganda has two million residents in refugee camps, the bulk of them internally displaced people from an ongoing 18 year guerrilla war. Provision of water and sanitation is a major concern and while hand pumps are the quickest and most cost-effective approach, large camps demand more pumping capacity.

Pabbo refugee camp, housing 60,000 people, is perhaps the largest in the world. It began in 1996 when refugees started building homes around a barracks. By 1999 the population was so great it was exhausting the traditional borehole method to get water. The World Food Program stepped in and donated a Southern Cross IZ Pattern windpump, installed and maintained by the non-government organisation Action Against Hunger (ACF). Perched 15 metres above the ground in an average wind of about 3 m/s, the 2.5 metre diameter windpump cylinder provides water for one hundred families in its ten cubic meter tank. With a 64 millimetre pump cylinder, the windpump surfaces 11.8 cubic meters of water daily. There is a set schedule for families to get water in the morning and afternoon.

ACF's Charles Kennedy knows the windpump's location is not the best: "This pump was the first in the region and was used as just a study. In Pabbo, there's a problem with the topography, with the mountains and valleys. But when people settle into a refugee camp, they often don't think of where to get the best water or food -- all they want is to be near soldiers."

Pabbo has the only working windpump in Ugandan refugee camps, with high cost cited as the biggest impediment to widespread use. ACF is seeking more donors.

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