B’da Water Crisis: Army Rescue to the Rescue

Army Rescue Unit rationing water to inhabitants of Ntamulung

Army Rescue Unit rationing water to inhabitants of Ntamulung

  

Barely days after the Bamenda Water Crisis Commission ordered for water to be rationed in an effort to remedy the acute water shortage in Bamenda, the Bamenda Army Rescue Unit under Captain Afuh Hansel Teka has already distributed over 350 000 litres of Water to some 16 neighbourhoods in just one week.

“I sent out 7 000 or 10 000 litres tanker or both to every stop, depending on the population of the area” Captain Afuh said as he supervised the rationing of water to hundreds of families at the Ntamulung Junction on Friday afternoon.

“I have this here (7 000 Tanker) and another 10 000 tanker at the Former Cenajes quarter distributing water simultaneously” he continued. “We had earlier rationed 17 00 litres at the GTTC Entrance Nkwen this morning” he added.

Captain Afuh Hansel Commander of the B'da Army Rescue Unit in white shirt supervising distribution

Captain Afuh Hansel Commander of the B’da Army Rescue Unit in white shirt supervising distribution

“It hurts me so much to see some family going back without water, but I believe that most of them are coming back for the second time” Captain Afuh observed as his 7 000 litre tanker was gradually running out of supply.

Miss Mbong Vanessa, I met returning with an empty 20 litre container told me she had already fetched 4 other containers but had returned to get more and is not worry. Walking with her was another lady with two containers of the same capacity who said she just came back from work and was rather unfortunate to come when the supply was getting finished.

According to Captain Afuh Hansel, the rationing has been going on smoothly though he confessed that Bamenda is very big and they cannot satisfy everybody at the same time.

He however called on the population to follow the line and not used their sisters or brothers who are already on the line to skipped ahead of others penalizing those behind them.

Not willing to comment on the cost of the operation which seems to be running into hundred of thousand of francs CFA already, Captain Afuh said it’s borne by the SDO for Mezam, who is the only one that can give an estimate. “We are only here to execute and will do so as long as the means permit us to and as long as the crisis persist, what we have at the Army Rescue Unit is only fuel for emergency…” he explained.

rationing water into containers like these takes hours

rationing water into containers like these takes hours

Thousand of B'da residents now rely on this water rationing for drinking

Thousand of B’da residents now rely on this water rationing for drinking

Mezam SDO Nguelle Nguelle Felix chairman of the “Bamenda Water Crisis Commission” set up by Northwest Governor to find a solution to the water crisis had called for water to be rationed on a daily basis to the most affected areas of the town. These areas included Upper Ntamulung, Upper Metta Quarter, Atuazire, Nacho, Abangoh, Njimafor, Former Cenajes, Mbenfibieh, Upper Bayele, Sisia, Banjah, Mile III Nkwen, Ndumukong, New Layout Nkwen, Ntabessi, Ghana and Cow streets amongst others.

The water crisis in Bamenda started in early November 2014, barely days after the last rains. Officials of the regional delegation of Mines, Water and Energy say only the coming of the rains can remedy the situation. They blame the current crisis on the drastic and unprecedented drop in the level of water at the Mbatu Dam due to most feeder streams running dry.

This is the first time that the City of Bamenda is experiencing a water crisis of this extent. The Bamenda Highlands which also forms part of the great water basin of Cameroon and West Africa is blessed with abundant fresh water sources mostly originating from the Ngemba Forest Reserve, found in parts of Awing, Akum and Bamendakwe.

 Population pressure on the reserve has seen it shrink considerably, with the demand for fire wood, farm land and building space taking its toll on the reserve exposing spring sources and streams to the scorching sunshine and eventually drying them up. Feeder streams to the Mbatu Dam have already run dry barely two months into the dry season, an indication that the water crisis in Bamenda is far from over.

So far the only parts of town unaffected are Nkwen rural, Mankon rural, Bamendankwe, Up Station, Ngongham and parts of the rural areas surrounding Bamenda that depends on alternative water supplies.

by Abongwa Fozo