(ERGO) – Medicine students from various universities in Lasanod, in Somaliland’s Sool region, have armed themselves with spades and rakes to clean up the rubbish in one of the city’s poorest area to prevent an outbreak of cholera during the rainy season.
Around 35 male and female students are devoting 10 day to the clean-up campaign in Daami, an area camps for internally displaced people as well as other deprived families.
Heavy rain in Lasanood recently has washed all sorts of debris and trash into the neighbourhoods of Daami, where residents also dump their own garbage in the streets.
Bile Mohamud Abdi, the leader of the student group, told Radio Ergo the IDP families were vulnerable to diseases resulting from the poor hygiene and sanitation in Daami. Two private companies in Lasanod offer waste disposal services at $5 a month, but IDPs and other local residents cannot afford the cost.
Bile said they hope to prevent the spread of disease especially among children. The students have been creating awareness among residents, encouraging them to dispose of waste at a distance from their immediate homes and environment and to discourage children from drinking from contaminated water sources.
The piles of waste collected by the students are load onto trucks and burned on the outskirts. They have been using their own money to buy fuel for the trucks.
Barwaqo Adan Jimale, a displaced farmer from Hudur in Bakool, said three of her children fell sick with diarrhoea in the rains last year and had to be treated at a local clinic. She is happy the cleaning campaign has begun in the area, which she says will keep the children more healthy.
Last November, five children died of acute watery diarrhoea and 50 were treated al hospital in Lasanod, according to Dr Abdikarim Ise Jama. Four of the children died in the hospital.
The mayor of Lasanod, Abdiaziz Hussien Taar-Wale, said they approve of the students’ campaign as the authorities face financial constraints and have not been able to take on such work.