Following heavy rains and severe flooding in August-September 2011 in Sindh, Pakistan, entire villages were submerged and many water points were damaged or destroyed. Access to clean drinking water was greatly affected while stagnant flood water, standing for months, contributed to a dangerous sanitation situation.
With support from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), International Medical Corps is implementing a water, sanitation and hygiene project in Sindh province to address the needs of flood-affected communities. We are rehabilitating hand pumps destroyed by floodwaters, constructing emergency pit latrines, providing hygiene education and distributing hygiene kits and jerry cans to hold clean drinking water.
Our engineers on the ground and field staff regularly monitor the work and identify locations for installation of hand pumps and latrines. Our teams collaborate with beneficiaries during latrine site identification to ensure that there will be no problem for community members, especially women, in accessing and using latrines. As there were few other options available, open defecation was common practice after the floods contributing to the spread of waterborne disease. For local women, this created additional burdens when dealing with privacy and modesty issues.
“Now that International Medical Corps has installed latrines in our village we have privacy and security,” said Ms. Nabila, a community-member in Umerkot District.
Other female beneficiaries from the area added, “Now we have better facility at our door step. We do not have to bear shame or dishonor anymore.”