Water aid helps prevent illness in flood-hit Pakistan
Jaan Mohamma, aged 11, had to walk many miles to fetch water after the recent floods contaminated the water supply in his village in Badin, a district in Pakistan's disaster-prone Sindh province.
"It was too salty for me to drink. For some people who drank it, they caught diarrhea," says Jaan as he fills up his jerry can with clean, drinkable water from a blue tank provided by Plan Pakistan and local partner HANDS.
"Now I am happy that the water source is so close to home," says Jaan, who now doesn't have to sacrifice his school time for water fetching.
Heavy rains and floods in late August and early-September killed some 200 people and made 6,800,000 homeless or displaced across Pakistan. Out of those affected people, 1,800,000 of them live in Badin, the worst-hit region.
Jaan is among the 80,000 people Plan and HANDS are providing 200,000 liters of safe water to daily as the availability of drinking water has been a major challenge in Badin. Only 20 out of 78 water sources remain usable after the heavy rainfall.
Plan, HANDS and UNICEF have teamed up to ensure safe water is trucked in daily to fill water tanks in remote villages. There is a phone number and a message in local Sindhi language on each water tank for the villagers to call for advice.
With Plan's support, HANDS has put up Sindhi slogans of health awareness in villages and broadcast radio messages to educate people on how to keep themselves and their neighborhood clean.
"Thanks to clean water from Plan, UNICEF and HANDS, many of us no longer have sore throats or upset stomachs from bad water," says village chief Mohammad Ali.
Opportunities to improve sanitation are limited in areas that are still inundated and funding remains a major bottleneck for many agencies, warns the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in its latest situation report.
"More funds are needed to support the large returnee population and prevent an outbreak of disease as most of the resources in the villages are damaged and not functional, therefore putting the population at risk. If additional funds are not available immediately, several cluster members will run out of resources in a few weeks."
Learn more about Plan's work in Pakistan.