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Plan International Reacts to Water Scarcity for South Sudan Refugees

At a refugee camp in northern Uganda, Mary sleeps with her four brothers under a tree. Tired and thirsty, she wakes up in the middle of the night to wait in line for water.

“This place has no water, and on a few occasions, a truck will bring some water and fill up the tank, but it’s a struggle to get it,” she said.

Plan International is working to help refugees like Mary.

The 17-year-old fled with her four brothers from escalating violence in South Sudan, leaving both of their parents behind. Sometimes she and her siblings go without lunch because they lack water.

Mary and her brothers are part of the thousands of people lucky to have escaped death during the conflict in South Sudan that broke out in December 2013. Thousands fled to neighboring countries, including Uganda. But at the Baratuku refugee camp where Mary is staying, water scarcity has become a serious issue. Women line up for water as early as 1 a.m. and are lucky to get 10 liters by sunset. Baratuku has one borehole that serves nearly 7,000 people. Often, families go without meals until late in the evening because there is no water to prepare food.

Dedicated to supporting the well-being of refugees from South Sudan, Plan is working to address the scarcity of water.

“When such disasters occur, children suffer most,” said Negussie Amsalu, Plan regional water and sanitation adviser. “Lack of proper sanitation will exacerbate the spread of diseases like diarrhea and cholera. As a humanitarian agency, one of Plan Uganda’s efforts will focus on ensuring that there is maximum hygiene and sanitation and access to clean water in Baratuka settlement to avert the breakout of epidemics.”

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