Swedish Committee for Afghanistan has constructed 1,180 and deepened 1,040 wells in Afghanistan

Peshawar January 23, 2003 - The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) Rural Engineering Unit constructed over 1,380 shallow wells in villages in 8 provinces in the northern, eastern, and southeastern Afghanistan during 2002. Some of the wells are located for the use of clinics and schools supported by the SCA.
In addition the SCA Rural Engineering Unit has also deepened 1,040 wells in an emergency project in areas under the SCA coverage area. The wells are among previously more than 9,000 wells constructed by the SCA in Afghanistan.

Due to the ongoing drought in Afghanistan the water table has sunk and in many villages around the country there is no water in the wells. SCA survey teams selected the wells deepened. "In general the groundwater situation in Afghanistan is a little bit better now than a year ago, but after four years of severe drought the availability of water is the biggest problem for the Afghan agriculture", says engineer Abdullah Aini head of the SCA Rural Engineering Unit in Peshawar.

In connection with the construction of the wells the villagers have been given health education by male and female community health workers from nearby SCA supported clinics. "The community health workers taught the villagers how to handle and store the water they fetch from the wells. They are also given information about waterborne diseases, how they are spread and how to avoid them. It is very important to train the local communities so the water we provide through the wells is safe for drinking", says engineer Abdullah Aini.

"To ensure that the deepened wells will not dry out the SCA engineering teams headed by a site engineer who were instructed to deepen the wells 5 to 10 meters below the ground water table", says engineer Abdullah Aini

During 2002 the SCA Rural Engineering Unit also constructed 17 new schools and 6 clinics and rehabilitated 13 clinics in the provinces under SCA coverage. Since 1992 the SCA has constructed 210 schools in the rural areas of Afghanistan. Within its water and sanitation program the SCA has now constructed some 10,500 village wells in Afghanistan.

Radiohelp and Forum Syd as well as money from Atlas Copcos "Water 4 all" campaign in Sweden fund the construction of wells. ECHO and SIDA fund the emergency project.

For more information please contact:

Borje Almqvist, Information Officer
Information Unit, Swedish Committee for Afghanistan
GPO Box 689, Peshawar, Pakistan
E-mail: Phone: (92-91) - 84 02 57- 111 114 114