University of South Wales

Cardiff • Pontypridd • Caerdydd

Courses glam.ac.uk

PONT Community to Community Development Centre (C2C)

Welsh Community Partnership Help Aberfan-type Disater

The community partnership between RCT/Pontypridd, University of Glamorgan and Mbale in Uganda has started a disaster emergency relief fund after the district of Bududa was struck by a series of horrendous land slides earlier this week. So far almost 400 people are known to have died or are missing, and over 20,000 have been made homeless by the landslides and the resulting flooding. The disaster was due to a combination of torrential rains related to climate change, and deforestation of the slopes.

For the past five years, RCT/Pontypridd and University of Glamorgan has held a twinning partnership with the Mbale region with the purpose of Making Poverty History. Thanks to this a network of Local Government and Non Government Organisations has formed a coalition to help deliver the Millennium Development Goals. This team are already on the ground in Bududa coordinating the relief work, and a direct link to send funds is already in place. The charity coordinating the link is called PONT (Partnerships Overseas Networking Trust), and since it is run by professionals who are all volunteers, all funds are sent directly to Uganda without any overheads.

“The similarity of the situation with Aberfan is striking” says Dr Geoff Lloyd, a GP from Pontypridd who coordinates PONT. “The side of a mountain has come away wiping out a whole school of children, along with most of their community. I remember as a young boy watching emergency vehicles rush through Cilfynydd on the way to Aberfan, with so many people wanting to help. Now the same thing has happened to our twin community in Africa, we are keen to rally our community to show the same sort of determined commitment to help those desperately in need.”

The appeal is being headed up by the University’s Visiting Professor Hilary Thomas, who heads up the PONT environment committee. “We always knew there was potential for such a disaster in this area, and have been working with the University of Glamorgan to identify the most vulnerable regions. Sadly we were not in time to prevent this disaster, but will do everything we can to stop similar incidents in future.”

The problem in the short term is providing shelter and food for the survivors who have been made homeless. This requires an urgent transfer of funds over the next few days and weeks.

Anyone willing and able to donate can do so by: visiting the dedicated website
calling into Harvest Books and Craft Shop in Church St Pontypridd or by sending cheques made payable to PONT endorsed “disaster relief fund” on the back to Harvest Books and Crafts, 2 Church St, Pontypridd.

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Pontypridd, CF37 1DL, UK.

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