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The Ugandan Slum Dwellers Facing Health Hazards From Crushing Stones

4 mins read

Health Hazards – On the outskirts of the Ugandan capital Kampala lies Kasokoso, a slum that is dwelling to greater than 20,000 folks. Right here, girls and kids brace the scorching solar, hitting rocks, breaking them into smaller items.

This livelihood is all many have identified for years, some courting again to the late 90s.

– The story of a number of the employees –

Irene Anek is one in every of many employees to have escaped battle in northern Uganda. With no training, she could not discover any significant employment, so resorted to odd jobs for survival.

Many years later, her household continues to be caught in the identical cycle of poverty, crushing stones on this makeshift quarry, one in every of a number of within the space.

“Some days, we return dwelling with 3,000shs or 5,000shs (approx. $0.82 – $1.36 USD), relying in your power,” says Anek.

“That cash is barely sufficient to purchase meals and groceries, as a result of most instances the costs are too excessive. So, we’re simply surviving, dwelling hand to mouth.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, Anek and different mother and father have needed to carry their youngsters to the quarries.

Anek’s oldest son, Paul Okwir, says the closure of faculties means they must help their mom, any manner they will.

“We had nothing to do, however we got here right here and we (discovered) one thing to do and now we are able to work and we are able to get cash,” he says.

“We will save and if this corona(virus) is over, we are able to return to high school when we now have our cash for paying. In a day, I could make 3,000 or 3,500 (Ugandan shillings).”

– Uganda’s Housing Subject –

With Uganda’s inhabitants rising, demand for lodging and infrastructure can also be on the rise.

Development corporations typically benefit from low-cost supplies, just like the stone produced by these employees.

However crushing stones by hand is inflicting critical well being considerations amongst employees as accidents and accidents are quite common right here – Health Hazards.

Nancy Akello has been working right here since 2008. She says with none protecting gear, a lot of her colleagues have been hospitalised.

“The largest problem with this quarrying is that it causes chest ache and different respiratory issues, because of the stone mud that we inhale,” says Akello.

“We additionally get accidents from stone particles that enter our eyes and hitting our fingers with hammers.”

— Are there any measures to deal with the difficulty? —

Native authorities say there’s little they will do to avert the hazard. The quarries are sometimes privately-owned with little or no regulation.

“Our youngsters are even going to be spoilt as a result of every time they’re on the stone quarry, although they’re sustaining the roles, however their data is now down, in order that must be uplifted once more,” says Mebrah Bamwena, a group girls’s chief.

“You can’t depart a toddler to be (sat) there for 3 months, meaning he’s going to overlook the research and be on stone quarrying, that is too unhealthy.”

In keeping with the Johns Hopkins College tally, Uganda, a rustic of about 42 million folks, has reported over 2,600 circumstances of COVID-19 and greater than 25 deaths.

As COVID-19 circumstances surge in Uganda, the hazard to those folks goes ignored. – Health Hazards

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