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Australian officer to lead relief team in Uganda

Australian officer to lead relief team in Uganda

Australian officer to lead relief team in Uganda

31 August 2017

Major Peter White (left) will lead a Salvation Army International Emergency Services team for three months in Uganda, assisting local staff working with the growing refugee crisis there.

By Simone Worthing 

Major Peter White, the Corps Officer at Hurstville in Sydney’s south, left Wednesday night 30 August for a three-month deployment to Uganda where he will lead a small International Emergency Services (IES) team to provide assistance and training for local Salvation Army workers.

The team includes Major David Bennett (New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory), two officers from the IES team based at International Headquarters, officers from Northern Uganda and local staff.

Ongoing conflict, violence and drought in Africa’s South Sudan has driven almost 1.6 million people to neighbouring countries, with Uganda hosting the majority of these refugees.

As of June, 956,822 South Sudanese refugees had flooded into Uganda, with 282,046 having arrived since January. Women and children under 18 years make up 86 per cent of the refugee population.

“The Uganda Territory has limited resources at their disposal and this is particularly so in the far north of the country near the South Sudan border,” Major White said. “We will be training them in how to work with the United Nations (UN) and partner with other non-government organisations and relief agencies, as well as identifying future long-term development projects for that community and that group of people.”

The deployment will also involve the construction of 150 toilets and 18 boreholes for one of the refugee camps located near Adjumani, North Uganda. These need to be located and constructed in accordance with the UN standards for humanitarian assistance to ensure good health and hygiene outcomes, safety and security, as well as equitable access to clean drinking water.

Boreholes like the one pictured above, provide a safe water source, and improved hygiene and sanitation facilities to hundreds of people in vulnerable communities.

“This project is part of a coordinated response with various agencies working in the area,” said Major Alison Thompson, IES Coordinator. “It’s designed to assist around 9000 people with a safe water source, as well as providing improved hygiene and sanitation facilities for 150 families, with the outcome to help inhibit the spread of water borne diseases in the most vulnerable communities.

“In addition, 1500 households will be provided with cooking utensils. We are most grateful to SAWSO (Salvation Army World Services Office) for their support of this response and to the those who have enabled officers to be deployed at this time to assist the Uganda Territory. We pray God will bless and use them in serving those in great need.”

Major White explained that the team would also be looking at supporting the newly-planted Salvation Army Adjumani Outpost, to develop some sustainable development projects to allow the refugees to move towards some level of financial independence. Adjumani is located 150km south of the border with South Sudan.

Major White trained as a nurse before becoming an officer. As well as appointments in the Australia Eastern Territory, he has served in a variety of project development and emergency services roles internationally, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and South Africa.

“I’m really keen to get to Uganda and start working,” he said. “The general consensus is that the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in South Sudan is a largely forgotten one, and yet one of tremendous and growing need.”

The IES team provides support and assistance to Territories, Commands, Regions and other countries affected by disaster and conflict and is deployed around the world, as required.

Donations to the Africa Disaster Fund can be made online: click here

 

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