WV sanitation assessment exposes health hazard
World Vision programme officer Debs Harris, who is leading the sanitation assessment.
A World Vision water and sanitation assessment in earthquake-hit Bam and outlying villages today, showed serious deficiencies posing major health risks.
The assessments were made in the south–east of Bam, denoted Zone 3 by the Iranian Red Crescent society, and the villages of Narteej and Kork.
Although daily visits by water trucks are supplying sufficient quantities of drinking water, locals have little water for washing themselves, their clothes or cooking and eating utensils.
In Narteej the World Vision team found women washing clothes and eating utensils in large open drains, designed to channel storm water. Water in the drains was dirty brown.
Village health worker Abas Powrgholam said many villagers were still able to use their toilets, however those who had moved into the village after fleeing Bam had nowhere to relieve themselves. A similar situation existed in Bam where some are forced to defecate in the ruins of collapsed buildings or behind trees.
The problem was especially acute for women reluctant to use latrines built in exposed places.
Most people spoken to by World Vision in Bam said the lack of toilets and showering facilities was now their number one problem.
World Vision programme officer Debs Harris, who is leading the sanitation assessment, said the situation was untenable.
“Unless we act in the very near future there will be a serious outbreak of water-borne disease,” she said.
World Vision hopes to build or rehabilitate an initial 2,000 latrines to help alleviate the problem and is seeking funding from OFDA (US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance) and Echo (European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office) to facilitate the project.
Meanwhile World Vision plans to immediately procure and distribute shovels and pickaxes to allow people to clear rubble and build latrines themselves.