19 September 2020

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AKAH Supports Improvement of Access to Clean Water in Wakhan Corridor

Written by  Waleed
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Friday September 4, 2020 Kabul (BNA) Due to snowfall in winter and landslides and floods in summer, the villages around the Wakhan corridor (some of which lie at an altitude of over 3,000 meters) remain cut off for up to four months every year. Many villages along the Afghan-Pakistan border lack access to safe water supplies. Residents, most often women, have to travel long distances over harsh mountain terrain to fetch water from rivers or unprotected sources. Often the water is unclean, leading to sickness and disease in places with little or no access to health services. In response, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), with the support of the PATRIP Foundation, is constructing 15 climate resilient drinking water schemes, according to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). In Ners, a village in the Wakhan district of Badakhshan along the Chinese-Afghan-Pakistan border, AKAH constructed a water supply system that provides every home, as well as public facilities in the village, with a water tap. Safe piped drinking water that meets WHO quality standards is provided year-round. AKAH began by designing and installing a protected, piped system that covered 6.5km from the water source to the village. The scheme includes a drainage system designed to properly and safely drain water in the winter months and meet the particular geographic and climatic conditions of the village. Given the remoteness of the village, transporting construction supplies and materials was particularly complex, drawing on AKAH’s logistics and supply chain capabilities that were developed during the delivery of humanitarian aid in emergencies. Recognizing the challenges of accessibility for repair and maintenance going forward, the project promotes local ownership and the skills needed to maintain the system. AKAH also formed and trained a WASH Committee in the community to be responsible for maintenance and promote good hygiene and sanitation practices. The project, which was praised by the District Governor, was considered unique in the region. The Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development’s Provincial Coordinator concluded that “ultimately the water supply served to protect people of the village”. The Wakhan Corridor is a narrow strip of territory in Afghanistan, extending to China and separating Tajikistan from Pakistan and Kashmir. The corridor, wedged between the Pamir Mountains to the north and the Karakoram Range to the south, is about 350 kilometers long and 13–65 kilometers wide. From this high mountain valley the Panj and Pamir Rivers emerge and form the Amu Darya. A trade route through the valley has been used by travelers going to and from East, South and Central Asia since antiquity. Politically, the corridor is in the Wakhan District of Afghanistan's Badakhshan Province. Asiaplustj Ansari

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