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news | September 26, 2016 | Nepal | Emergency

Restoring access to water in earthquake-affected districts of Nepal

Hygiene awareness session in Okhaldhunga district, ACTED Nepal, June 2016

Since January 2016 and with the European Commission’s support, ACTED has delivered vital support to earthquake-affected households in remote areas, including shelter winterization and water point rehabilitation.

In the aftermath of the earthquakes that struck Nepal in April and May 2015, widespread destruction of houses and basic community infrastructure, including water points, largely increased the vulnerability of isolated and underserved populations, as thousands found themselves without a shelter, and without access to proper water and sanitation facilities. With the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection’s mandate, ACTED undertook a two-pronged intervention in order to improve populations’ living conditions and resilience, enabling almost 10,000 highly vulnerable individuals to have access to water, while enhancing hygiene awareness of some 4,600 persons across Dhading, Dolakha and Okhaldhunga districts.

Rehabilitating water points to support affected populations

Bimala is a 27-year-old resident of Shreechour VDC, in Okhaldhunga. She is a daily labourer, and lives in cottage with her family. Kumle Khola, the local water point, was severely damaged by the earthquakes, affecting their daily life as they had to devote at least an hour per day to fetching only about 20 litres of water. The volume and quality of water available decreased due to leakages, and villagers witnessed a significant increase in water-borne diseases. Along with others, Bimala decided to fix their water point. Unfortunately, they lacked sufficient expertise and resources, and were unable to complete the works.

Then, Bimala heard about ACTED’s presence in the area, and contacted them. ACTED’s team assessed Kumle Khola and found that there was an urgent need to rehabilitate the water point. ACTED provided villagers with a proper budget, training and guidance so that they could take the rehabilitation and future maintenance of the water point in their own hands. Bimala, her family, and villagers can now get sufficient and clean water from Kumle Khola at all times. They have also attended hygiene promotion sessions and received kits. Thanks to these, villagers have an improved knowledge of safe hygiene practices and water purification methods.