Pakistan: Provision of sustainable water supply and sanitation services in the quake zone

Islamabad- April 27th, 2007: The main focus of the WATSAN sector has been the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the 4,000 water supply schemes of which 2,400 have so far been sponsored. The operation involves line departments of NWFP & AJK as well as some 28 partner organizations such as Unicef, TEAR Fund, TDH, Solidarities, RWSSP, RSPN, RDP, Premier Urgence, PRCS, Oxfam, NCA Project, Mercy Corps, Malteser International, Islamic Relief, IRC, IMC, IFRC, ICRC, DWHH/Germany, Diakonic Emergency, CRS, Concern World Wide, Care International, Arche Nova Emergency, ARC, Aga Khan Foundation, ADF-HEKS and ACTED. They are involved in the reconstruction of water supply schemes, latrine construct, distribution of hygiene kits, awareness raising with regards to sanitation hygiene and water quality issues.

Discussing the water and sanitation sector, General Nadeem, Deputy Chairman Earthquake Rehabilitation & Reconstruction Authority (ERRA) said, "Watsan sector in the post earthquake recovery period has to be seen as critical of the 4,000 affected schemes, reconstruction is physically underway on 1,100.

Some 1,300 water supply schemes were restored under the relief & recovery phase that benefited approximately 830,000 people. Around 50,000 pit latrines were constructed which benefited 640,000 people together with 15,000 pour flush latrines benefiting approximately 120,000 people." In addition 210000 hygiene kits have been distributed to 14 million affected population.

Significant numbers of teachers (4,190) have been trained in School Sanitation and Hygiene Education (SSHE) and Child to Child (CTC) approaches. This has already resulted in a significant number of 168,900 children (43% girls) being included in hygiene education sessions.

For sustainability of ERRAs WatSan programme, integration with other ongoing Federal / Provincial level WatSan programmes is one of the guiding principal of the strategy. Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (PEPA) and Ministry of Environment Pakistan are the major actors at the federal level. To take these agencies on board, ERRA's WatSan Sector has conducted a detailed visit of the senior managers to the earthquake affected areas. As a result PCRWR has focused its activities on monitoring water quality and has established water quality labs in earthquake affected areas.

Since good sanitation and hygiene are key to preventing contamination and good sanitation facilities give little benefit if the water remains contaminated, water supply and sanitation, health education and hygiene projects have come to be viewed as interdependent. Implementing them at the same time leads to the greatest benefit. In line with this strategy, ERRA, PCRWR, WHO and UNICEF are developing a water quality monitoring programme to install and train local authorities in water quality monitoring equipment. PCRWR is establishing water quality labs in Mansehra & Muzaffarabad where WHO provides technical & financial assistance for 8 water quality labs (4 in NWFP & 4 in AJK*).

The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Jan Vandemoortele during a recent visit to the affected areas said, "Despite the harsh weather conditions, Watsan sector and the implementing partners have completed rehabilitation and reconstruction of 425 rural water schemes, with work well underway on further 1,052 schemes."

Footnote:* (Pakistan Administered Kashmir is United Nations official reference)

For further information and media assistance, please contact,

Raabya Amjad, Public Information Officer, Pakistan
UN - Office of the Resident Coordinator, Sector F-7/2, Street 17, House 12, Islamabad;
Fax: +92(0) 51 2655014; Tel: + 92(0) 51 8255712; Mobile: +92 (0)301 8542442