Western faces clean water crisis

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, December 8, 2010

THE people of  Daru and other parts of Western affected by the cholera outbreak, have requested for immediate access to safe drinking water.
The Catholic church in Daru reported yesterday that the main request from people on the island and neighbouring islands and villages was for water tanks to be installed in their area for them to store clean water.
“There is an immediate demand for water tanks in places like the settlements, including villages that are affected,” assistant parish priest for St Louise Marie De Monfort parish in Daru, Fr Vinod P’Mello, said.
“Many people here don’t have access to that and this has resulted in many more people being affected.
“The people have mainly requested for water tanks,” he said.
P’Mello told The National that the water system on the island was not safe and immediate maintenance was needed and also to erect stone walls along the river to keep water at bay especially during high tides.
“The settlements and the villages along the river are more at risk because when water comes in during high tide, it carries with it faeces.
“We have helped in running awareness programme in each settlement and other affected areas telling people to wash their hands, to boil water before drinking, using clean water to wash utensils and keeping living environment clean by disposing their rubbish, including human waste, some kilometers away from their homes,” P’Mello said.
He said the church was also helping in providing transport for cholera patients to the hospital in Daru for treatment and transporting bodies of deceased from the morgue to burial sites.
“We find it quite difficult because there are only two vehicles but we are very careful and make sure everything goes well. In this case, we encourage that dead bodies be brought straight to the burial site,” he said.
P’Mello said there were more than 200 unconfirmed deaths reported while more than 300 people were affected.