In Zambia, an especially destructive rainy season did its most severe damage on the night of January 29.
“A heavy downpour through the night led to a flooding of our area,” said Fr. Douglas Ogato, who, along with Sr. Theresa Konsolo, leads the Water With Blessings’ efforts in northern Zambia. “74 houses collapsed and the people lost everything they had over the course of the night – water filters, food, children’s school books and uniforms. They couldn’t get anything out of the house because they were trying to keep the house from collapsing, which it did anyway.
“They lost everything except their lives.”
The next day, the now-homeless people came to the compound near the church and school.
“They asked to be accommodated in the youth training school building, but it was too small to house all of them,” Fr. Douglas said. “The local Disaster Mitigation and Management department helped them with tents, pitching them in the school’s compound. They’ve been there since. It’s still raining – the rainy season lasts until the end of March. They can’t go back to their homes. Everything is still on the ground.”
In all the flooding and damage, at least 30 Water Women lost their filters.
“There is virtually no clean water,” Fr. Douglas said. “But we have requested that other Water Women near the compound come to share clean water with them, and put in practice the covenant they made to help others. To some extent this is working.
“But water is a scarce resource, and buying water is very expensive. That poses a challenge.”
There is another shipment of filters on its way to Zambia, but it won’t arrive until late April or early May.
“The situation is dire,” Fr. Ogato said. “If we can get some big containers, 30 or 50 liters, it would be helpful. The Water Women could filter water into them and the families could use the water during the day. They are already doing great work coordinating clean water for the affected families, but walking in the mud-flooded compound isn’t easy. Gumboots would be a great help to them, but one pair costs between $12-$15.
“It is the poor who are being affected. Any help would be very much welcome.”
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