PAN, August 10, 2011

Bamyan residents face lack of drinking water

About 32 out of the 74 villages are facing water shortages

by Hadi Ghafari

girl taking_water kabul
Girl carrying water. (Photo: AP)

Drought has forced more than 20,000 people to walk for hours to fetch drinking water in one district of the central province of Bamyan, residents said on Tuesday.

All the nearby water sources are dry. Sufi Rafi, 75, a resident of the Saighan district, told Pajhwok Afghan News: "We have not seen such a drought in the last six decades."

"When I walked two hours in order to fetch water from a remote source, I got very tired. We carry the water with donkeys, but on one hand the resource is remote on the other hand it is the holy month of Ramadan," he said.

Although the local government in the province has provided a water tanker, he said it was inadequate to the needs of the residents of two villages. In the district centre, shopkeepers also wait for hours to get their turn on a remote water resource.

Mohammad Alam, the owner of a medical store, said that when some residents take 15 litres of water from the source, the source dries up and other residents cannot use it.

There are about 74 villages in the district, which has roughly 39,000 residents. About 32 out of the 74 villages are facing water shortages, the head of a department at the district centre, Mohammad Jalil, said.

The district has 70 percent less water than it did last year, he said, and some families have even had to flee their villages and get refuge in other districts.

Previously the department of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in the province had dug some 20 wells, but those have dried and if deeper wells are not dug, the problem will continue, he went on.

He said the central government is aware of suggestions to construct dams and reservoirs, but have not taken any steps yet.

Mohamamd Riza Rafat, the head of the Natural Disasters Department in Bamyan, said his department had been able to send one water tanker for residents but that it could not meet the demand.

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