Improving roads and water in the mountains of Kashmir

Report
from Islamic Relief
Published on 24 May 2013 View Original

Internal walking routes, as well as access to neighbouring villages in Chamyati is essential in the day-to-day chores involved in farming and harvesting. Good access is also vital to residents' health and hygiene as all drinking water is fetched from distant natural springs, via unsafe walking routes.

Islamic Relief is improving the facilities in seven villages in Pakistan-administered Kashmir (AJK).

The project, which began this month, will provide rainwater harvest systems in each of the 4,225 households in the Chamyati area, as well as building walking paths and raving larger access roads.

Around 88% of the population of AJK live in rural areas. When the earthquake of 2005 hit, it didn’t just cause the deaths of 75,000 people, it also devastated infrastructure, agriculture, water sources and livestock.

Most pre-2005 water sources in AJK have either receded or diverted since the earthquake. Most residents are farmers, so access to water is vital in maintaining their livelihoods.

Internal walking routes, as well as access to neighbouring villages in Chamyati is essential in the day-to-day chores involved in farming and harvesting. Good access is also vital to resident’s health and hygiene as all drinking water is fetched from distant natural springs, via unsafe walking routes.

Over the next six months, Islamic Relief will be installing discreet but secure footpaths between the seven villages, providing access to schools, markets and clinics. The paths will be suitable for elderly people and those with mobility difficulties.

Before the earthquake eight years ago, most homes had mud roofs. Today, they are largely made of corrugated tin, which will enable rainwater to flow to the harvesting system without any need for structural changes. The harvesting system would enable families to store rainwater and use it for farming, washing clothes and feeding livestock.

Most linking roads are narrow, unpaved tracks that are only suitable for cars with four-wheel drive. However, for a large portion of the year, most roads are inaccessible due to landslides caused by rain. Islamic Relief will be paving these roads, making them suitable for all vehicles and resistant to water erosion, to ensure all residents are able to travel in the area safely.

Islamic Relief has been working in in Pakistan since 1992 and started supporting families in AJK since 1993.