The only thing worse than having to flee your own home because of flooding, is having to do it two nights in a row.
On May 6th, 2020, Mbambu Margret woke up to the sound of people screaming. The heavy rains had caused the banks of the river Nyamuruseghe in Uganda to burst, and her village was flooding.
She rallied her five children and ran to the local church for safety. They spent the night on the church veranda, along with many others from her community.
By the morning, the water levels had returned to normal so they went back home.
The worst was far from over. That night another nearby river spilled over causing a massive flood that did not recede. This time, it would take a month for Margret and her children to be able to go back to their home.
Save the Children arrived with tents, buckets, plates, cups, pots and pans. A week later they came back with warm clothes for the children.
“This was a great moment,” said Margret with a smile. “We saw life coming back in our families.”
Throughout the month of May 2020, heavy rains caused five major rivers to overflow and caused mass flooding in Uganda. Margret’s village — the Bukangara village in the Kyarumba Sub County — was one of the most affected by the floods.
“It was such a trying moment and difficult to bear, especially due to the fact that we had left most of the things at home,” said Margret.
“We rushed out to save ourselves and our children.”
In the aftermath of the floods, her community suffered from damaged homes, loss of crops and loss of property. One of the most pressing problems that remained was that many of the latrines in the village were washed away.
Margret and her children were forced to keep bothering one of their luckier neighbours whose latrine had remained intact after the floods. At times, they had to resort to using buckets and digging holes.
As part of the Humanitarian Coalition, and supported by Global Affairs Canada, Save the Children provided the construction materials Margret needed to build her own latrine. Save the Children also supported the construction of latrines in five primary schools and five health facilities in the area.
Rebuilding latrines in flood affected areas improves hygiene and sanitation practices and prevents the spread of cholera and other water-borne diseases. It is more than just an issue of convenience or privacy – rebuilding latrines is essential to prevent illness.
“We thank Save the Children for the continuous support it has extended to us during this trying moment,” said Margret.
“Now the hygiene is guaranteed and life is slowly coming back to normal.”