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Regional News of Thursday, 28 February 2008

Source: GNA

NGO assists Upper West flood disaster victims with relief items

Pieng, (UWR), Feb. 28, GNA - About 1,640 people in eight communities in the upper West Region who lost their property in last's year floods are benefiting from a 48,550 Canadian dollar funded project to rehabilitate their houses. The Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives under the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is funding the project through the People's Action to Win Life All-Round, (PAWLA) a local NGO in Tumu. Under the project, the NGO would provide assorted relief assistance including 138 bundles of roofing sheets, 200 bags each of maize and rice, 380 pieces of blankets and 600 mosquito nets to the floods victims.

The beneficiary communities are Ngmanduan, Pieng, Lilixa , Sakai, Bujan, Duu and Dolibizon all in the Sissala East District and kangual in the Jirapa/Lambussie District. Speaking at one of the presentations at Pieng, the PAWLA Director, Mr. Tahiru Ibrahim Jongi, said following last's year floods disaster, the NGO wrote a proposal to CIDA to help mitigate the suffering of the victims, which was approved. He said the NGO carried out a number of educational activities aimed to ensu re fraud free and transparent distribution of the relief items.

These involved organizing sensitisation workshops for the community members on how to develop the criteria for the identification of disaster victims as well as disaster prevention and management activities.

Mr. Jongi said as a result of its disaster prevention education, people in the community were now avoiding to make their farms in valleys and river banks while some of them were also moving upland to build their houses and plant trees to serve as wind breaks. PAWLA is also carrying out activities on good governance to sensitise the people on how to source information from service providers, monitoring HIPC projects and promoting livelihood projects in the communities.

Mr. Jongi urged the community members to use the lessons learnt from anti corruption education campaign activities of the NGO to hold their leaders accountable for their actions in non-confrontational manners to promote peaceful co-existence. He appealed to CIDA and Germany Technical Cooperation (GTZ) to provide means of transport to the NGO to help cart the relief items to the victims in the communities, which were far from the district capital, Tumu.

He advised the people to be wary of HIV/AIDS, pointing out that its devastation to human race was worst than what they had experienced during the floods.

Mr. Jongi said several people in the district were still sceptical about the presence of the HIV/AIDS in the communities and mentioned that as at 2007 the Sissala East District alone recorded 57 reported HIV/AIDS cases, a situation he said should be of worry and concern to all. The Pieng Kuoru, Chief Humphrey Togdia, thanked CIDA and the Canadian High Commission for supporting the NGO with funds to provide relief items for the people and urged other benevolent organisations to emulate PAWLA.

He said some people whose houses had collapsed; especially women had now gone to live with their parents instead of staying with their husbands, a situation he noted was undermining the proper upbringing of children.

Meanwhile community members were seen feverishly moulding bricks to rehabilitate their collapsed buildings while others were at building sites constructing their houses. 28 Feb. 08

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