Safe water for drought and conflict-affected people

Afghanistan | 2021 | CBPF

Afghanistan,Kandahar. In a remote village in the hot and dry province of Kandahar, Ahmad carries a heavy water barrel with the help of his 9-year-old son. They had traveled from their homes to another village to collect enough water to cover their daily needs – drinking, cooking, bathing and washing. The road is long, dusty and dangerous, and they must take a break every hour as they make their way home.

Ahmad and his family fled their home village in 2021 because of violent conflict. The family of six settled in another village, but like many other displaced people, he does not have access to enough safe drinking water, and he cannot draw on local water sources due to land rights and high costs.

The village where Ahmad’s family settled suffers from the worst drought in 30 years, and the second in 4 years. Water has become extremely scarce. Most villagers do not have access to safe drinking water, and the hand pumps are often broken, so they need to walk to other villages to fetch water. The lack of clean water and poor hygiene also leads to health issues, including water-borne diseases such as acute watery diarrhea and other health problems.

Usually, women and children are in charge of collecting water, which increases their exposure to violence and harassment. “I was always concerned about my children’s health due to the lack of clean water and the need to send them to another village to fetch water instead of going to school. In addition, the hand pumps in other villages are often broken, and we don’t know how to repair them properly,” said Ahmad.

“Many people left [our area] because there was no water. But in September, a team from DACAAR visited the village and fixed the broken hand pumps. All the villagers felt relieved and happy because now we can finally access clean water in this village,” he added.

With funding from the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund, DACAAR has rehabilitated broken hand pumps in districts across Kandahar. Aiming for long-term sustainability, DACAAR also provided training to the community on the operation and maintenance of wells, gave hygiene education and distributed hygiene kits.

By providing safe water and delivering hygiene messages, the living conditions of people in crisis-affected communities, especially those in peri-urban and rural areas, can be vastly improved, particularly against a backdrop of COVID-19 and AWD and cholera outbreaks. Proper hygiene, clean water and ending open defecation are vital to prevent diseases, reduce pressure on already overwhelmed local health institutions, and increase school attendance.

All names have been changed.

More information on the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund: