Restoration of water and sanitation services were among the greatest needs following the tsunami. Christian Children's Fund's major water and sanitation program is concentrated in Sri Lanka, where private contributions coupled with a grant from USAID is enabling the organization to:
- lay water lines and reconnect them to temporary housing
- distribute water containers and water storage tanks within camps
- repair and reconstruct toilets
- promote basic health and hygiene measures to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases
Following the tsunami, families in the devastated districts of Ampara, Matara and Hambantota were forced to walk to a distant communal water point in order to get water to drink, wash or cook.
CCF changed this by laying water pipes and installing taps to the homes of more than 360 families.
For Those Who Are Still Stranded
Many families cannot begin rebuilding because of the ongoing debate on a controversial "buffer zone" that the Sri Lankan government wants to establish to keep families safe from future tsunamis. For those families whose homes were located within these buffer zones, temporary camps have been established.
CCF has provided 1,350 families living in these temporary camps with two, 10-liter water containers (jerry cans), which they can use to collect water from large community water tanks.
Toilets are Essential
In Kirinda, CCF has provided toilets for 100 families. In addition, CCF is building communal toilets for the fishermen and women working in related industries in Kirinda in Hambantota districts. They've had no bathroom facilities in the area and have been using the bush or sea.
CCF is changing this with the instillation of 29 toilets for the fishermen and women. Through a cash-for-work program, CCF is employing five fishermen - all of whom lost their livelihoods to the tsunami - to dig toilet pits and trenches for the new toilet pipes.
"It will be a long-term process," says Debora Bonucci, water and sanitation program manager in Sri Lanka. "We've had to educate people that it is better to use a toilet and explain why it is better for the health of their children."
Repairing and Building Bathrooms at Schools and Temples
CCF is building new bathrooms and repairing dilapidated ones at the Wellingama and Devinuwara temples, which house CCF's Child Centered Spaces. A 500-liter water storage tank was installed in the Wellingama Temple and children are now able to wash their hands regularly.
"This is our village and these are our children, and we need to protect them," says Nima Silva, volunteer team leader at the Child Centered Space in the Devinuwara Temple near Matara. "It is much better now that we have the new facilities because 400 children come here for Sunday school. Two toilets were not enough."
Silva regards the CCF Child Centered Space as a very important step in the recovery process. "We're helping tsunami-affected children, so we're putting our hearts in it."
Health and Hygiene - Preventing Disease
In an effort to educate communities about health and hygiene, CCF's public health teams travel between transitional camps, schools and Child Centered Spaces located in Matara, Hambantota and Ampara. There, they meet with health and hygiene committee volunteers and distribute soap and other sanitary products.
Committees, comprised of camp residents, meet once a week, often with mid-wives or medical experts, to discuss public health issues, day-to-day problems and raise awareness about:
- hand washing
- safe water
- proper garbage collection and disposal
- vegetable cultivation and composting
In Ampara, where garbage collection and disposal in the camps is a problem, CCF is focusing on the importance of maintaining a clean environment as part of malaria and dengue fever prevention. In addition, diarrhea is no longer prevalent.
Every month, CCF health and hygiene workers deliver 3,295 packages of soap and hand-towels to families living in the Matara camps.
Additional Water and Safety Initiatives: India and Indonesia
In India, CCF has provided 10,000 100-liter storage tanks and 4,500 500-liter storage tanks to homes. The organization has also distributed 3.3 million water purification tablets and reconstructed or repaired overhead water tanks in 20 villages, constructed five community restrooms and wash and bath areas.
In Indonesia, CCF has provided 30 water storage tanks in five camps in the Seve Krueng Raya area and distributed 3,000 drinking water containers and 3,000 wash bins.